Having used Google routinely for personal information needs, you may well wonder whether Google is an effective tool for academic research. Though not all web content is well-indexed by search engines, and for most legal research questions, at least some sources will be available only commercial databases or print materials, researchers would be remiss in not searching the web for relevant free sources. Government documents, open-access journal articles, digitized public domain works, news coverage, commentary from experts, and publications from non-profit organizations and advocacy groups are examples of free web content that may be useful for your research. Consider the below when utilizing search engines such as Google in your research:
See below two additional tools available in Google that may be of use in your research:
Google Scholar allows users to search not just for journal articles available in open-access web sources, but some full-text articles available in library subscription resources as well. Users may select from up to 5 additional linked library sources, and adding Vanderbilt Libraries to your library settings will return content from certain journal collections hosted by Vanderbilt amongst your search results, including most content from HeinOnline (the most comprehensive source available for law journals in PDF format) and JSTOR, amongst others. To enable this feature:
Google's Advanced Search form allows users to improve their search in a number of ways, including:
A few particularly notable Advanced Search features include the ability to search a particular website, a particular domain (ex. .gov., .org, .edu), or for pages with content provided in a particular file type (ex. PDF).