Research databases differ from web search engines in several key respects. The most important is that they all use a controlled vocabulary and that the terminology of the controlled vocabulary is exposed as part of the search results. A more thorough comparison of research databases to web search engines can be found at the following link:
One significant drawback in using research databases is that each one is different. Each one has its own look and feel, its own controlled vocabulary, its own way of doing things.
Despite their learning curve, there are a number of compelling reasons for using a research database rather than Google or Google Scholar.
Because research databases ae often subject specific, it can be difficult for even experienced researchers to find the best database to search for any particular topic. To take some of the guesswork out of choosing the right database, the subject specialists at Galvin Library have put together lists of the most relevant research databases for each area of study at Illinois Tech. That list can be accessed here: