Google Docs Login page for students
Further, I’m more concerned that my students are writing with quality and integrity than I am with their memorization of the ever evolving, yet archaic, academic style guides. As ed tech continues to evolve, it’s important to familiarize students with tools they can use to simplify the research and citation process, while teaching them to write with quality and integrity.
To do that, I created a research/citation writing workflow that not only helped my students become better writers, but also simplified the process to the point where they never had to leave Google Docs.
In a deadly combination, many scholars hide their research behind paywalls, and many students turn to simple Google searches and Wikipedia for “research”—either because they haven’t been taught to find quality research, or they don’t want to tango with intimidating databases. We can do better.
Enter Google Scholar, Google’s free, academic search engine.
There is a learning curve to finding good research using Google Scholar, but after some practice, students routinely found quality sources without ever leaving Google Docs. Here are my three simple tips for teaching writing and research within the Google Docs application:
Leverage the Research Panel
Through the Tools menu, one can open up the Research panel. With this panel, and without ever leaving Docs, students can perform a variety of searches including Google searches, image searches, and, most importantly, Google Scholar searches.
When students perform a Google Scholar search, the Research pane will display a list of sources. By hovering over each source’s link, students can see how many other scholars have cited the source (a great way to gauge the quality of the source), see the type of source (PDF, web, etc.), and be taken directly to the source.
If a student finds research they want to use in the source, they can choose the citation format they want (MLA, APA, or Chicago) and, with the click of a button, cite the source as a footnote or insert it directly into their paper. Google Scholar also allows students to save a list of their sources.
Use the EasyBib Add-OnThe beauty of the Google Doc’s Research pane and citation ability combined with EasyBib’s bibliography creator made the process more bearable. It took the difficulty out of finding good research and the tedium out of properly citing sources and making a works cited page. It is by no means a perfect system, but a big step in the right direction.
By taking the toil out of the research and citation process, I found that my students were more willing to write with integrity and found that the quality of their research improve dramatically.