Yes, there is an abundance of information available via Google. Yes, it is an easy tool to use. No, not all information retrieved through the Google website is valid. You already know this. So, how does one use Google the SMART way?
Know your domains! You are already familiar with .com, .org., and .net. You can use 'site:' to create a filter bubble - this limits results to material relevant and appropriate to your studies.
site:edu will bring only sites from colleges and universities
:gov is federal government (useful for policy analysis, government programs, archived historical papers)
:mil is military (useful for policy papers, maps, and unique insites to historical events. Useful also for biographies - try site:mil George Patton)
:country codes - see the next tab for more information
Country codes are magical keys to international information. Use these to narrow your filter bubble to sites FROM THE COUNTRY THAT YOU ARE STUDYING!
will bring results only from Croatia, whose country code is HR. This is useful to a student studying the ancient Roman ruins of Split, for example. But what if we were studying the Balkan war. Look at these results:
These sites provide a unique perspective that would be difficult if not impossible to replicate through a similar world-wide search.
A search of site:JP world war 2 internment camps, brings these results:
A list of country codes can be found here:
"Research value" and "Wikipedia" do not have to be oxymorons. Use Wikipedia for your pre-research to find keyword and further resources.
Let's look at George Patton:
"George Smith Patton, Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a general in the United States Army best known for his command of the Seventh United States Army, and later the Third United States Army, in the European Theater of World War II.
Born in 1885 to a privileged family with an extensive military background, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute, and later the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He participated in the 1912 Olympic pentathlon and was instrumental in designing the M1913 "Patton Saber". Patton first saw combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition in one of the earliest instances of mechanized combat. He later joined the newly formed United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Force and saw action in World War I, first commanding the U.S. tank school in France before being wounded near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton remained a central figure in the development of armored warfare doctrine in the U.S. Army, serving on numerous staff positions throughout the country. Rising through the ranks, he commanded the U.S. 2nd Armored Division at the time of the U.S. entry into World War II.
Patton led U.S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during the North African Campaign in 1942, where he later established himself as an effective commander through his rapid rehabilitation of the demoralized U.S. II Corps. He commanded the Seventh Army during the Invasion of Sicily, where he beat British General Bernard Law Montgomery to Messina but was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two soldiers under his command. Patton returned to command the Third Army following the Invasion of Normandy in 1944, where he led a highly successful, rapid drive across France. He led the relief of beleaguered U.S. troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and advanced his army into Nazi Germany by the end of the war."
Those blue underlined words and phrases are KEY WORDS to use in index searches, for keyword searches in our subscription databases, or for areas to search. He went to Virginia Military Institute, he served in Tank Corps and the 2d Armored Division in the U.S. Army. He was involved in the Invasion of Casablanca, the Invasion of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and saw combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition. Now you have key words for your :mil, :gov, :edu searches.
At the bottom of the Wiki page are these:
Use these lists to find further resources. Because they are coming from an anonymous source, use your scholarly judgement in determining their validity and worth. Your friendly librarian can help you find the References listed.