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GSW 1120: Gattozzi: Online Web Research

Course guide for Professor Gattozzi's GSW 1120 courses


Along with “scholarly” resources you access via the BGSU website, the open web is a helpful tool. The problem is students frequently aren’t adept at using Google or their social media effectively.

Google generates results based on previous web traffic. Just because millions of people have clicked on a link doesn’t mean the information is credible or trustworthy.

The open web isn’t visual. So most people, me included, do a quick Google search, pick a link from the first page without recognizing the tens of thousands of better results.

The video below discusses some quick strategies to search effectively, as do the information boxes below. They highlight some ideas to use the open web to curate results based on topic + type of source you’re looking for. 

Blog Reader/Podcasts

Timesaving techniques, ironically, take time. Finding the right blogs (on BlogLovin or other blog reader) or podcasts (on iTunes or SoundCloud) to follow is a lot like the writing process. You'll get excited, take many wrong turns, and only through the habit of slowing down a little each day to read + listen will you benefit.

Not every podcast you follow will be game changing. Not every individual blog post will synthesize with others. Throughout the semester, and moving forward, your goal is to connect with professional or amateur experts in the places where they write and talk daily. Then you will become one by completing your research projects in this course, and hopefully broadcasting them on your professional social media.

Social Media

Social media, when used responsibly, can benefit you in two ways.

You can follow other professionals on Twitter, Instagram, or whatever medium you prefer. They'll send out insight, links to articles, podcasts, videos, infographics, and other content you can use as sources. Your social media account can be used safely and provide a feed of expert opinion.

You can also use social media to respectfully debate, connect with other experts, and define (for a prospective future employer or peer) your expertise. Think about every tweet as a way to project the best, most responsible you.

Be a Google Ninja

Google is a wonderful tool. The power of Google to index websites has become synonymous with a web search. You don't search something; you Google it.

The problem is that Google generates results by sites most-visited given a search. If you search "Money podcast" Google spits out the top 10 links other people have clicked on who've searched "Money podcast". Google tries to harness the wisdom of crowds to make the majority happy. Their developers are world-class.

I'd hope, though, you're not a follower and can think creatively. Clicking on the top Google result, in most cases, is like watching Two Broke Girls or Mike & Molly. Predictable. Broadcast on a large enough distribution channel that it will generate ad revenue. Funny, I guess, but not overly creative.

A few Google tricks can help you hone a keyword search to produce precise subject and source type results.

Google Scholar

As a supplement to a regular Google search, Google also indexes scholarly sources on a website Google Scholar. Some articles here are public. Others you can access using BGSU credentials. Others you'll have to pay to access (don't do this--write down article info + check with a BGSU reference librarian).

Google Scholar is like Academic Search Complete. My suggestion is to use it as a compliment to all the other tools (EBSCO, BGSU Book Catalog, BlogLovin, etc).

The interface is a little different than EBSCO yet the same search principles apply. Begin with a short keyword search, use date / subject limiters, and always archive permalinks to content.


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Subject Guide

Rob Snyder's picture
Rob Snyder
152 Jerome Library

Bowling Green State University



Guide content created by Bryan Gattozzi ( with input from Rob Snyder.