Google Scholar – a bit deeper into Google

Table demonstrating order of search strings and their development.
Table demonstrating order of search strings and their development.

Research question: How can the library support inquiry learning?

Starting with the most successful search strings from Google (Supporting AND “inquiry learning” AND librarian AND “secondary school”) generated a list of mostly irrelevant results about different inquiry learning activities. One relevant result was Kulthau’s ‘Guided Inquiry: School libraries in the 21st century’ article that Google also found. The other relevant result is another resource by Kulthau: Kuhlthau & Maniotes’ book Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Everything else is either related to research done in different subject areas or school situations (ie, a primary setting, distance ed.).

For the next search, I tried to narrow down my search query further to become (“inquiry learning” OR “guided inquiry” OR “inquiry based learning”) AND (librarian OR library) AND (“secondary school” OR “high school”). While the results were slightly more useful, I am still unable to get the full page of relevant results as I did with Google. The same Kuhlthau article keeps appearing (Kulthau’s Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21st Century), and another Kulthau article appeared, ‘Building guided-inquiry teams for 21st-century learners’ which looks like it will be useful in determining how to collaborate with other teachers. Another article, ‘From Perceptions to Connections: Informing Information Literacy Program Planning in Academic Libraries Through Examination of High School Library Media Center Curricula’ from College & Research Libraries will likely be useful. One PDF that I thought sounded useful, ‘Collaborating to Meet Standards’ from Knowledge Quest was just an advertisement for different books for sale on Inquiry learning, which was quite disappointing.

My last two searches demonstrate my increasing frustration with Scholar, as they could not provide anything relevant to my questions. Overall, Google Scholar was limited in the usefulness of the resources it found. The few that I did find are highly relevant peer-reviewed literature, but Scholar just did not have the same scope as Google. While Google Scholar is reliable in returning only high-quality sources unlike Google, for this topic, Google has been much more useful. Google draws upon articles and blogs that Scholar could not, allowing more breadth to the type of information I was able to find.


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