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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Improving Your Research Skills

This guide will help you improve your research skills through searching library databases, searching Google, and evaluating sources.

Why Use Google?

You probably search Google a lot in your everyday life. Google is a helpful tool not only for questions we have every day, but also for college research. While searching Google for academic research may look a little different, a lot of your everyday search skills will be helpful!

Results from Google searches will be different than results from library database searches. Google will be better at finding authoritative web pages, background information, and social media sources. Google will also be better at finding local and current information.

Google also relies on algorithms in its search. Algorithms are a set of instructions that decide which results Google will show you. Algorithms can be helpful research tools, but they can also skew your results to only showing a single perspective on a topic. It is important to pay attention to which voices are being included in your search results, and which voices may be missing from the conversation.

Learn More About Google