A wide range of academic quality documents and data can only be obtained from the Library databases.
Google searching can be a useful supplement to database research, and the following tips can help you to find freely available academic quality material online.
Information available via Google includes:
- academic working papers
- government reports
- official statistical data (eg from the Australian Bureau of Statistics)
- transcripts and recordings of radio and TV broadcasts
- Search Google Scholar to focus specifically on academic books, working papers and journal articles.
- Monash staff and students can customise Google Scholar to use the Monash University Check for full text links service.
- Choose Advanced Search, or Advanced Scholar Search for greater flexibility in designing your search.
- Develop and use a search strategy as you would when using a library database
- When searching for information from the Australian government, specify the domain: gov.au. To limit to Australian university sites use edu.au
- Identify organizations that are recognised authorities on your topic, and visit their websites.
- When you find a useful site, check if it provides links to related sites. They will probably provide information of a similar quality.
- Critically evaluate the quality of material found on the internet.
- Save or print a page that you find useful - it may have changed or disappeared when you next search for it and a printout will include information you need for referencing (URL and date viewed).
- Try other search engines in addition to Google. The database of each search engine can represent only a part of the total content of the web, so widen your search. Read search engines' online Help to be familiar with their features.
Example of a Google Advanced search
Topic: Find government information on the impact of climate change on rural communities in Victoria.
A possible search strategy is:
eg “rural towns”, “rural communities”
- the search is limited to Australian government sites, gov.au