Referencing: A comparison of Google Scholar & QUT Quick Find

Article number Google Scholar QUT Quick Find
1 7.45 28.42
2 9.80 20.77
3 17.85 3:07.8
4 22.14 36.00

Full Title Search

Keyword Search

Article number Google Scholar QUT Quick Find
1 Null 1:30.27
2 Null Null
3 18.67 1:06.85
4 1:45.15 38.13


Knowledge and its application are important for international competiveness (Richardson et al, 2012) and Australian universities are judged on their research performance (Keller,2015). However, academic research is under constant threat of funding cuts and so time has become a valuable commodity to the researcher, with a need to perform the research as efficiently as possible (Mamtora, 2013). It is important that they can search and gain access to academic articles quickly. Students are time-poor and need to find relevant information quickly.

I use QUT Library’s Quick Find (QF) and Google Scholar (GS) interchangeably. Personally, I find the latter easier to use and less cumbersome, although the former seems to perform better on refining results.

I decided to do a brief comparison on them using identical criteria. The speed of the search was timed from hitting the search button to the actual retrieval of the full-text article. Four journal articles were searched, using first a full-title search and then a keywords search. Due to time constraints, searches were terminated at 5 minutes and recorded as null. No other search narrowing tools were used in order to ensure a fair test. GS performed consistently better for the full-title search, but was very poor at keyword search, despite using BOOLEAN techniques. QF was generally quicker at keyword searching. Whilst performing literature searches for research, it is likely that advanced searches using filtering based tools (Mamtora, 2013) would be performed in order to limit the irrelevant results and increase efficiency.

Discipline-specific searches can also be useful (Richardson et al 2012), which can be found on the QF site. Although this was an interesting exercise to perform, these results are not conclusive due to small sample size and the limited parameters applied during the search process. In order to gain viable evidence that one search engine is superior, a much larger study would need to be performed applying various search parameters. It will not change my method of researching and literature searching, using both search engines together.

Traditionally, a library is a source of information (Richardson et al, 2012) and a data repository (Keller,2015), needing a high level of cyberinfrastructure, including data acquistion, management and retrievable storage (Richardson et al, 2012). The QF site, athough not perfect, achieves this, particularly compared to research retrieval using cards and CD ROMs. The field of research is evolving continually (Richardson et al, 2012) and librarians need to be up-to date with this (Mamtora, 2013). E-research is becoming increasingly common (Richardson et al, 2012), with an increasing number of students studying online. Therefore, access to research needs to be available off campus (Mamtora, 2013); the QF site provides this. Researchers also need access to a wide range of resources and databases (Mamtora, 2013), which can certainly be found on the QF site.

Academic librarians must see themselves as partners in the research process (Keller, 2015) ensuring that the researcher is information-literate and able to perform effective literature searches (Mamtora, 2013). Students also are becoming more active learners increasingly needing to perform their own searches (Brewerton, 2012). Orientation seminars are therefore necessary and are accessible via the QUT library site.

QF site is generally an effective tool for both researchers and students allowing them to search and retrieve their required literature. It is a tool which needs to evolve with the needs of the researchers. Although GS can be a useful tool when the researcher knows exactly what they are looking for, QF appears to serve better for wider, less specific searches.


Richardson, J., Nolan-Brown, T., Loria, Pat, & Bradbury, S. J. (2012) Library research support in Queensland: a survey. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 43(4), pp. 258-277.

Keller, A. (2015). Research Support in Australian University Libraries: An Outsider View. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 1-13.

Mamtora, J. (2013). Transforming library research services: towards a collaborative partnership. Library Management, 34(4/5), 352-371.

Brewerton, A. (2012). Re-skilling for research: investigating the needs of researchers and how library staff can best support them. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 18(1), 96-110.



(Created for student blog: Semester 2, 2015)


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