This study assesses and compares the quality of sources found by undergraduate students when doing research using both Google and a library (federated) search tool. Thirty undergraduates were asked to find four sources (one book, two articles, and one additional source of their choosing) related to a selected research topic. Students used both Google and a federated search (resource discovery) tool to find material they believed to be relevant. Each source was evaluated for topic relevance, authority, appropriateness, and date, and assigned a total quality score. Results showed that the books found via Google were slightly higher quality than those uncovered via the federated search tool. The articles and additional sources students found via the federated search tool were slightly to moderately higher quality, respectively, than those discovered via Google.


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pp. 133-161
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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