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Environmental Science and Studies Research Guide

This guide serves all of Iowa State's environmental programs as well as the many courses that share themes of sustainability, resource management, and environmental awareness.

Why can't I just use Google?

As a librarian I often get asked this question. Both Google and Google Scholar are good tools but sometimes they are not the best tool. There are good reasons to learn to use scholarly databases for your research, not just Google and Google Scholar.

Google was built to search web pages.

Google indexes webpages which means it's great for searching websites and webpages but not so good with other types of information. Most scholarly articles and reports are not published as webpages which means you should use other tools when looking for these resources.
 

Google Scholar only covers the open web and access to most scholarly information isn't open.

If you only rely on Google Scholar for academic research you'll miss relevant and important research that isn't available for free online. Why is this? Well, most digital scholarly information is behind paywalls and there is a large volume of information that isn't online - both new and old - that Google Scholar can't index. 

The nice thing about most of the Library's scholarly databases is that they cover both open and paywalled information as well as digital and paper resources

So, go ahead and start with Google Scholar but don't forget that there are other tools that can help! You can find these on other library guides or browse a list at the link below.

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