As the internet expands its user base and more and more people take on the role of content creators the more likely you are to find less relevant information using a standard Google search. There are countless ways to filter results from a standard search; this post only addresses one–Reading Level. But before we get to this, lets look at some other tools used in the research arena…
Having worked in higherEd, I know the contention regarding Google Scholar, as often as I hear “Its the best, you should use it”, I also hear “Never, EVER use Google Scholar”. The reasons vary depending on what the field of study is, so ask you lecturer or tutor their thoughts on Google Scholar before you start using it for assignments. In the study of Laws, the use of tools like LexusNexus and WestLaw are far better resources than Google Scholar, as these advance searches are tailored for legal research, (they are also paid services).
Google Reading Level is not a standalone application, its just an advance search tool that can filter the results by the language used. This is great for sorting out links on the basis of the language level used. Advanced returns links more of the academic and legal reading level, the screen cap below shows WA State Parliament Hansard as the first result for the search string “Rayney Trial” (a high profile case that has exploded across the local media), where without the Advanced filter, the Hansard would be returned much further down the results (if at all).
In situations such as the above where there is a great deal of news articles, most of which rehash content from a handful of original sources (Court Journalists in this example), the ability to exclude results written for consumption by the general populace does speed up the research process.
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