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Evaluating News Stories: Using Google wisely

Fake news is a complex and growing problem for anyone doing research. This guide accompanies Dr. Johnson's COM 10 class

All GOOGLE is not created equal

Google SCHOLAR is a subset of the larger Google search engine. It searches only for articles from mostly scholarly sources where the holder of the copyright has allowed internet access.

There is a new scam in academic publishing, sometimes referred to as "predatory journals."  These are made-up, online journals that charge authors to publish their articles, but the journals do not have legitimate peer-review, and will publish anything for a price.  Often these journal names are closely related to the names of legitimate journals, so be careful.  Google Scholar does not have a filter to screen out these "con-job" journals.


Here at KU, the librarians have configured Google Scholar to work with some of the library databases to pull in the PDF of articles you have a paid subscription for as a student here.  To take advantage of this "extra", you need to use a special link.  You can get it by going to the A-Z Database link and selecting Google Scholar from that page, or use this link:

Finding reliable websites on the Internet

Google's Advanced Search

To help you evaluate the sites you find:

  • info:  for information about a website. Works best with the homepage address.
  • related: search for related sites, use the word "related" followed by a colon:

  • link: Find out where someone referenced this link on the website:

  • v-e-r-y important: there is no space after the colon when using these commands; don't need to put in the "http" or the "www"

More Tips for searching Google

  1. site:.[extension]   put in your keywords and then add site: [extension for website, like .com]
    • for example:  scholarships
    • for organizations; for government sites
  2. Use quotes for names and phrases:  "Donald Trump"   "climate change"   "left wing"
  3. Use a hyphen to exclude terms:  football  -soccer
  4. Search a range of numbers with two dots:    2008..     100..150       ..50
    1. This works great with monetary vaules, for example, $10.00..$50.00