Skip to Main Content

Research Skills Tutorial

This is a self-paced, non-credit course that covers research skills, critical thinking, media and internet literacy, and understanding the complexities of the modern information environment (including libraries.)

Searching Google

Sometimes you need to search the Web because it is the best place to find certain kinds of information sources, especially gray literature and primary sources. Some examples include:

  • government documents
  • digitized primary sources from museums, historical societies, and other cultural institutions
  • reports and white papers from non-profit organizations and NGOs
  • and more.

Beyond what you can find using general search engines, like Google, there is Google Scholar, which searches:

  • books
  • scholarly articles
  • conference papers
  • case law
  • U.S. patents (if you choose to include them)

If you access Google Scholar through the library's Article Databases page, you will be able to sign in and find links to full-text articles found in your Google Scholar search results via library databases.

Because the Web is vast and unmonitored in terms of quality, it is important to learn how to use Web search engines to their fullest potential.

This video from Suffolk County Community College's library explains how to use Google's (and Google Scholar's) Advanced Search. It was made in 2013, so the Google interface has changed slightly.

Screenshot 1: In Google, to locate Advanced Search, you must first sign into Google. Then click the gear icon, and select Advanced Search (highlighted in red below): 

Screenshot of Google Search. At the top there is the search box and Google account info. Below that is a menu of search options: Web, Videos, News, Shopping, Images, a More pulldown menu, and Search Tools. To the right of that is the gear icon, which has been clicked to show its menu, which contains Search Settings, Languages, Turn on SafeSearch, Advanced Search, History, and Search Help. Below that are the search results.

Screenshot 2: In Google Scholar, to locate Advanced Search, first sign into Google and then look for the unlabeled pull-down menu on the right side of the page, near the top (highlighted in red below):

Screenshot of the Google Scholar search results page. At the top is the search box. Under that is the Scholar label, the number of search results, the My Citations button, and then all the way to the right, a small downward pointing triangle pull-down menu opened to show its options: Metrics, Settings, and Advanced Search. Beneath all that are the search results, and there is a left column for narrowing by Case Law, My Library, and Publication Date (since 2014, since 2013, etc.)

Accessibility Note

Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Accessibility Resources and Services by emailing them at  Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the Accessibility Resources and Services website