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Think Like a Researcher: Instruction Resources: #4 Using Google for Academic Research (Alternate)

Teaching Research And Information Literacy (TRAIL) Curriculum Resources for Writing 10


This revised Google activity focuses on some specific Google search strategies and tries to move away from merely "checklists" for web evaluation.  This is more in keeping with the current Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education especially the frame -- Authority is Constructed and Contextual.


Course Learning Outcome:  Demonstrate information literacy and be able to work with evidence

Goal: Increase students’ awareness of Google search functionality; provide students with strategies for determining website credibility

Specifically, students will be able to

  • Increase the effectiveness of their Google searches (searching with specific descriptive keywords, employing phrase searches, limiting to a domain, and filtering results)
  • Recognize that source evaluation involves articulating your information need
  • Evaluate a web source by asking three key questions related to authority, bias, and an author's use of sources.

Try Your Google Search Here!


Lesson: Using Google For More Effective Searches

ACTIVITY: Searching in Google; Evaluating Information Tutorial

1) Students complete tutorial independently, or as a group in class. (~20 minutes)  This tutorial includes five embedded videos and follow-up questions.  It should be completed in a single browser session.  If completed individually, each student will receive an email notification of completion; however, the email does not calculate what answers were correct/incorrect.

  • Simple Google Search Tips
  • Find An Exact Phrase
  • Search Within A Site
  • Filter And Refine Your Google Search Results
  • Evaluating Sources To Find Quality Research

2) Students locate a resource / article using Google that could be appropriate for their research interest & consider its credibility.

3) Students write a response to the Research Journal prompt after completing the tutorials and locating a resource.

Research Journal

Searching in Google; Evaluating Information

Consider the following questions as you write your reflection. 

  • How can Google be a valuable tool for academic research?
  • What are some advantages and disadvantages to using Google to locate information?
  • What search strategies were most useful to you as you used Google to find information on your topic? 
  • What article did you choose and what did you consider in selecting this as a relevant and suitable source?