Beyond Google

Can’t I just use Google to do my research?

Google or other search engines may get you started with your research and some of the results may be credible ones, but be careful, learn to evaluate the source.

Information freely available on the web does not cover everything and a lot of information doesn’t show up in your search results. So to find this hidden information from the ‘invisible web’ or ‘deep web’ as it’s sometimes called, you need to have more tools at your disposal, for instance scholarly journals and individual databases.

Library resources

Your university library subscribes to hundreds of subject specific databases and e-journals not available on the free web. Many of these will have been selected by the university academic teams. 

When you have done some preliminary web searching to scope your topic, remember to use Library Search to find out what your university collections have on your topic . Your library subject guides will identify some of the key resources relevant to you and help get you further with your research.

Subject guides

Check out your library resources for suggestions related to your subject.

Subject Guides [Falmouth]

Subject LibGuide [Exeter]

If you get stuck searching for library resources contact your librarian.

What is Google Scholar?

This is a search engine that searches academic literature. It pulls information from university repositories, journal publishers, and other ‘scholarly’ identified websites. Google Scholar has many useful features to help with your research, for example

  • set up email alerts to receive information on your research subject area
  • add your university library (by enabling 'Library Links') to link up to fully available articles
  • use cited reference searching to discover similar publications


  • The results are not comprehensive
  • Often the full text is not available
  • Not all articles are peer-reviewed
  • Advanced Search is not as powerful as the advanced search features of databases

Google Scholar walkthrough

Remote video URL


University of Exeter students may want to visit their Making the most of Google Scholar LibGuide 

Linking Google Scholar to University resources

Falmouth University students

Choose Settings > Library Links > Search 'Falmouth University' > Select 'Falmouth University - Full Text @ Falmouth' box > Click 'Save'.

University of Exeter students

Choose Settings > Library Links > Search  'University of Exeter' > Select 'University of Exeter - Check for this@ Exeter' box > Click 'Save'.

What’s wrong with Wikipedia?

There’s nothing wrong with Wikipedia if you use it as you would any other encyclopaedia - for basic information, simple facts or a quick answer to a query. There are generally few original sources on Wikipedia because anybody can edit the pages. However, there are usually some links to sources and articles at the bottom of the article page, which you might find useful for your research.

Make sure you are critical of the information and only cite from original and reliable sources. Do not cite Wikipedia.

Remember - Wikipedia is a good place to start, but don’t stay there!