Search engines, such as Google, look throughout the World Wide Web for information most of which can be freely viewed by anyone with a connection to the internet. Governments, universities, various organizations both non-profit and for profit all post information on their web sites. Along with these types of web sites you can also find a wide variety of other pages such as commercial web sites, personal blogs, and discussion groups all adding clutter to the information available on the “free” web. Most scholarly information is NOT free on the web and even Google Scholar does not link to all of the articles in the library’s online databases. To find reliable scholarly materials make sure to use a database at the CORE Library.
There is not necessarily anything WRONG with using Google, and it can be a great place to start your research, but should not be your only stop. Google is in essence a “popularity contest”. Google search results are returned in order based on the number of hits a website receives, so it is very easy (although essentially cheating) to manipulate Google in order to have a website come out at the top of the results list. In 2011, retailer JC Penney was caught doctoring its Google search results by using what is known as "black hat" optimization...in essence, gaming the system so that JC Penney floated to the top in hundreds of unrelated searches. This is one example of how Google is not the most reliable and trustworthy place to find research.
Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/) is a web search engine that searches specifically for scholarly literature and academic resources from publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar returns not only scholarly journal articles but also research reports, dissertations and theses, preprints, technical reports, patents, working papers, books, court opinions as well as things such as power point presentations, web pages and many other document types it deems scholarly using a built-in algorithm.
Google Scholar is NOT Google.
While Google searches the entire public Web, Google Scholar searches a smaller portion of the Web, similar to searching in the Library's catalog and databases. There is a more scholarly, authoritative focus with Google Scholar that distinguishes it from Google. Google Scholar is like a federated search allowing you to search in many places at once. Think of it as a starting place for more precise searching, more search features, and more content use the library's databases.