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American Literature

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Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Google

Google can be helpful for your research. Here are some ways to make sure you're getting the best you can out of it:

  • Use Google Advanced Search: next to the search box, click on Advanced Search. Use AND, OR, and NOT.
  • Use Google Scholar: go up to the top of the Google page, and click on the link "more." Choose Scholar from the list. Google Scholar will bring you back scholarly journal articles; we have access to the ones with links on the right!
  • Use Google Books: in the same place you clicked for Scholar, try Books. Some books are available online, full-text, in PDF!
  • Use your skepticism: don't forget that Google is primarily a company that exists to make money. Try going to the second and third results pages.

Using Google

  • Quotation Marks “” : Just like when searching in our databases you can use quotation marks to search ofr an exact set of words or name
    • “To infinity and beyond!”
  • Dashes - : Instead of the word “not” to remove a word from your search results google uses dashes before the word. Essentially you are subtracting the word from your search
    • Liberty - Justice
  • TILDE ~: You can  use the tilde to include synonyms in your search
    • Breakfast ~Pastry
  • SITE:www.query.com: This allows you to search only with in a specific site or type of site
    • SITE:GOV -Searches through only .gov websites
    • SITE: www.sc4.edu -Searches through only SC4.edu
  • Two Periods .. : This allows you to look for things within a range
    • Fashion 1940..1945: This gives you results that have the word fashion in it and any date between 1940 and 1945

Still need more help? Search Term Generator