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Google Scholar

Using Google Scholar

Google Scholar is different from Google. Google searches public web content - if your instructor says not to use Google, they probably mean they don't want you to use content from the public web. Google Scholar, however, searches journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports and other scholarly literature.

Is Google Scholar right for my research?

Google Scholar is useful for:

  • locating more information on partial citations. For example, Google Scholar can often find an article with just the title, and will provide the full citation and access to full text options once you have set up Google Scholar.
  • discovering keywords that define your topic.
  • helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
  • finding "gray literature" like conference proceedings. It includes many articles that wouldn't get included in other indexing services.
  • highlighting highly cited works on the topic.

Google Scholar cannot:

  • search with the accuracy of Library databases.
  • sort/search by disciplinary field.
  • browse by title.

Searching in Google Scholar is imprecise when compared with discipline-specific databases. If your research requires very comprehensive searching, or if you are not satisfied with Google Scholar's results, use individual research databases.