Once we’ve chosen solid research topics, it’s time for my students and I to begin compiling our research. This involves a second trip to our campus library where we can take advantage of a valuable partner in our research project—our librarian, Mrs. Kilker.
Search Engines vs. Research Databases
Equipped with a handout that lists the research databases available to us, Mrs. Kilker discourages using search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. for our “academic” research. She cautions:
- Search engines give you millions of sites to search through.
- Using search engines can be overwhelming and time consuming.
- Using search engines makes it difficult to determine which sites are biased, credible, and for profit.
- Search engines don’t have citation machines within them to show us how to follow Modern Language Association (MLA) format.
- Use search engines last!
I taught freshmen this year who have little or no experience in research and many hadn't heard of MLA format before. Because I wanted my students to find success with our research project, and because we had a limited amount of time complete it, I discouraged them from using search engines altogether.