As the Education Librarian, I spend most of my time trying to steer students towards the library databases to which we subscribe in order to find peer- reviewed journal articles. The Internet often gets ignored or, perhaps, even a bad rap, as we constantly warn students about our greatest concerns, notabaly the lack of peer reviewed, scholarly content, .com sites, and questionable authority.
This being said, I must confess that Google Scholar, in particular, is an extremely powerful search engine. When I have exhausted a search through our databases and feel like I have hit a dead end, I give Google Scholar a try and usually am able to eek out a few scholarly article citations that were not picked up in our databases. I use Google Scholar as a method to locate citations of scholarly articles and, then, search for the actual articles through our databases. Google Scholar is just one of the many Internet tools which helps me locate scholarly articles. Instead of telling our students not to use the Internet, we should be telling them how to use it as a method in locating scholarly literature and how they can then locate the actual articles through our databases in full text, in the library in print, or through our Interlibrary Loan system (if we do not subscribe to the journal).
“There ain’ t no such thing as a free lunch.” …but what about free research?
A growing number of scholarly articles are becomming available through “open access journals” which are freely accessible on the Web and are peer reviewed. There are some in the field of education, but more, in the health sciences. Here is a link to 292 open access journals in the field of education from the “Directory of Open Access Journals.” To read about selection criteria and quality control maintained by this site click on About DOAJ. Additionally, there are 15 open access journals in sports science in this directory and 94 in library and information science.