Literature Review:

Living La Vida LibGuides

Lauren V. Bryant

Shoreline Community College


Literature Review: Google and Student Research

Students use Google first when they start their research. As librarians, it is important to understand this information-seeking behavior when we teach information literacy.

Outline of Existing Works

Use the table that follows to organize the list of sources you plan to cover in your review.

Information-seeking behavior:

Academic researchers

Information-seeking behavior in the digital age: A multidisciplinary study of academic researchers, X. Ge

Information-seeking behavior:

Graduate students

Scholarly use of information: graduate students' information seeking behaviour, C. George

Information-seeking behavior:

Basic science researchers

 Information-seeking behavior of basic science researchers: Implications for library services, L. Haines

Information-seeking behavior:

Business students

 Information seeking behaviours of business students and the development of academic digital libraries, K. Wooshue

Comparative Review

“Regardless of their status [...], business students were most likely to search Google (or another similar search engine) as the initial step in their information seeking process” (Wooshue & Makani, 2006, p. 36).

“The preferred starting point for both undergraduate and graduate students is Google or another similar search engine” (Wooshue & Makani, 2006, p. 36).

“I use ProQuest and Google, which everyone uses” (qtd in Wooshue & Makani, 2006, p. 36).

“To tell you the truth, I always get what I wanted out of Google without putting the quotes and all that stuff” (qtd in Wooshue & Makani, 2006, p. 36).

“With Google, they can enter the little bit of information that they have and immediately get numerous relevant results” (Wooshue & Makani, 2006, p. 36).

“More than 48 percent of the Web users interviewed visited the Web as an information-gathering tool daily or multiple times a day” (Ge, 2010, p. 441).

“The Web received the highest ranking, with a score of 4.5 on average, thus qualifying it as the most important popular electronic research resource used. [...] Databases ranked second in importance” (Ge, 2010, p. 441).

“I mean, [professors] ARE the next tier after the Google search” (George et al., 2006).

“For graduate students [...] (73%) mentioned using the Google search engine for their information seeking (50% in humanities to 93% in computer science)” (George et al., 2006).

“I guess Google is usually my first step. I mean, if I don’t know where the material is already. Sometimes if I know where it is, it’s faster to bring it up in Google” (George et al., 2006).

“The reason I use Google is sometimes the article I’m looking for are still not published, so they’re working papers. You have to search on Google and look for the authors of the paper and their Websites” (George et al., 2006).

“Nearly half of all graduate students (47%) use an open-ended keyword search usually with Google” (George et al., 2006).

“They reported using Google for a general or known search for information” (George et al., 2006).

“Most participants reported starting their searches with either PubMed or Google, depending on the nature of their information needs” (Haines, Light, O'Malley, & Delwiche, 2010, p. 75).

“Another researcher used Google to prepare for classes and PubMed for research” (Haines, Light, O'Malley, & Delwiche, 2010, p. 75).

“Google was mentioned as a starting point by four researchers” (Haines, Light, O'Malley, & Delwiche, 2010, p. 76)

“Five researchers used Google, but only one searched Google Scholar” (Haines, Light, O'Malley, & Delwiche, 2010, p. 76)


Students of various majors, statuses, and backgrounds overwhelmingly start with Google as a research option because it is easier and finds more results.