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The Remarkable Research Tool

by Diana Benner

Do your students have an upcoming research project?  As we all know, it is very important to teach students how to effectively cite sources, conduct proper searches, evaluate websites, and more, all while focusing on their content. Sometimes this can be a challenge, but Google has a remarkable tool to help students with all of this. As students work on gathering information, consider taking advantage of the tool. Below are some highlights.

Features of the Research Tool

The Research tool is a very powerful feature in Google Drive. It allows students to search for information simultaneously as they are writing. The Research tool is available in Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Drawing, and it allows students to do several things:

  • Easily Search and Preview Sites: Students can easily search Google services by applying filters such as Google Scholar, Google Images, Dictionary, and Quotes. In addition, students can preview a website by using the “Preview” feature. This will allow them to get a glimpse of the website in order to determine if they actually want to take the time and visit it.
  • Cite Sources: Students can select which format they would like to use to cite their sources. Available formats include MLA, APA, and Chicago. This feature is very important because we don’t want our students to forget to give credit for information that’s not their own.
  • Insert Images: Students can search for images to add to their data by selecting the “Image” filter. Once students see an image they would like to use in their research, they can drag the image from the research pane directly into their document and the image will automatically be cited. How great is that? Students can even limit their Image search to “free to use, share, or modify” by filtering the image usage rights. This will help keep students from violating copyright and is key if their work is going to be published online.
  • Insert Links: Students can easily add links to their papers by clicking “Insert Link” when they find a website they would like to include. In addition, students can click “Cite” to create a footnote citation for that link.
  • Research Google Scholar: Students can use Google Scholar by filtering their search for “Scholar.” Google Scholar provides a simple way for students to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, they can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court opinions, from academic publishers, online repositories, universities, and other websites. Google Scholar helps students find relevant work across the world of scholarly research. If you aren’t familiar with Google Scholar, here is a good introductory video about it.
  • Insert Quotes: Students can search and include relevant quotes in their work. Just like images and links, the quotes can be cited.


All of these features work while sharing.  So if you have a group of students working on a project together, you can see who added what and when.

Accessing the Research Tool

To access the Research tool, click on Tools –> Research. The Research pane will pop up on the right-hand side so you can begin searching.

Checking for Plagiarism

In addition to all the above features, the Research tool can also be used to check for plagiarism. All you have to do is copy and paste a few sentences from the work directly into the search box of the research pane and the search will take you to any site from which the text was plagiarized. Let your students know you will be checking their work for plagiarism and have them try this feature before turning in their project. This may help to deter them from plagiarizing in the first place.

The Research tool can save students a lot of time when conducting their research. Allowing students to focus on the actual research process will only improve the quality of their final results. If you are a fan of the Research tool or want to learn more about other Google tools, consider joining us for the Chromebook Academy this July. You can find more information about the Academy here.

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