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“Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." - Association for College and Research Libraries.


We are a culture that asks search engines and automated digital servants everything from 'tell me a joke' to 'how to repair a boat.'

This is merely a starting point, as the information retrieved is often not factual and needs to be clarified as to the credibility of the information in most cases.


Want more tips and tricks to help you search like a pro? Check out the links below to learn more advanced search techniques.

Search operators

Reverse image search

Image search on Google

Filter your search results

Advanced Search

Retrieved from Google search. 





Over 80% of college students use search engines for research, and only 1% regularly use the databases with peer reviewed articles.

What is helpful with this approach?  You might find relator terms, or current event relationships. These other terms, perhaps a scientific name, might assist you with a better search in journals in the databases.

What is wrong with this approach? You may not have reliable or credible sources and references. Your information could get polluted with inaccurate data.

Where do I find reliable and credible sources?  In Databases that culminate researched and peer reviewed articles from craft respected scholarly Journals. Databases are only available through a [library] subscription that offers access to it’s users.

Why are subscription based databases the preferred sources?  Because most of the information has been reviewed and collected by a trusted source and you are able to sort out peer reviewed articles; information that was fact checked and reviewed by a credible source.

Infographic Data Source:

“Perceptions of Libraries, 2010:Context and Community,” . Retrieved from


Search engines use algorithms, complex mathematical equations, to sort out your question or search terms into probable results. A good search engine tries to answer your question, and all of them will do you the favor of sorting out millions of websites into the best probable returns.

Websites can also pay their host and search engine(s) money to get their site to return in the top 10 results closest to your query.

Try these tips the next time you are using a search engine.

  • Pollute your search with all related terms, and sometimes it is good to eliminate the full question.
  • List the dominant aspects of your query and include similar parallel terms, or terms that are most likely to be used in your return.
  • Group words into parentheses when you want the results to be specific to that group, you can also use  and , or, and not with grouped words for altered results.
  • It is wise to dig into the top 5 page results— not just the first page.
  • Consult your librarian.


Google Scholar is an online, freely accessible search engine that lets users look for both physical and digital copies of articles. While Google Scholar does search for print and online scholarly information, it is important to understand that the resource is not a database.  A database, such as those available through the Kendall blackboard and library, is a subscription-based resource that searches for articles that have been published and are peer-reviewed.