For most of us, Google is our first stop when we begin a new research project or need background information on a topic. Use the tips below to increase your efficiency when searching with Google and don't forget to evaluate information you find on the web.
What is a Patent?
Patents are legal documents that "apply to newly developed technology as well as to improvements on products or processes. Patents provide a time-limited, legally protected, exclusive right to make, use and sell an invention." (Source)
Why use Patents as a Source?
"Patents can be a good source for information on new technology, trends in technological development, and innovations. They often contain references to other literature on the subject of coverage." (Source)
How do I find Patents?
There are several places online to search for Patents, but Google Patents might be a good place to start because it "includes over 120 million patent publications from 100+ patent offices around the world." (Source)
Start by entering your search terms into the Google Patents search bar above. The results will bring up patents and other technical documentation relevant to your search terms. For more tips on searching Google Patents, visit Google Support.
Use RADAR to consider the relative quality of information as you are searching. Keep the following principles in mind when considering the inclusion of any source - whether print, online or other media - in your assignment.
Relevance – How relevant is the information to your assignment?Consider your audience and compare the information source with a variety of sources.
Authority – Check the credentials or qualifications of the author. Does the author (person or company) have credibility through education or experience to be writing on the topic?
Date – Consider if you need the most recent information on your topic. Try to keep within 5 years for science and tech.
Appearance – Identify the Source Type. Different source types vary in their level of credibility. Academic Journals use citations and research to back their information, whereas magazine articles and blogs are less substantiated.
Reason (for creation) – Consider why information was created. Was it to inform, teach, entertain, persuade, sell something, or for some other reason? Is there clear bias?