What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is a search engine that includes journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports and other scholarly literature from all broad areas of research. You'll find works from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies and university repositories, as well as scholarly articles available anywhere across the web. Google Scholar also includes court opinions and patents.
Google Scholar attempts to help you locate the most useful research by ranking articles in order of relevance while also telling you how many times a particular source has been cited. You can also link to related articles for additional resources.
Why is Google Scholar useful?
It’s in a familiar format that you use on a regular basis.
It provides MLA citations.
You can save sources to your Google account and you can sort them using labels/folders.
It can help you evaluate your resources.
What are the limitations of Google Scholar?
Sometimes, the full-text resources you want are behind a pay wall.
For some topics, the results may be too specific or too high level for immediate student use. (In these cases, students may want to try the databases and/or site:.edu.)
We don’t quite know what criteria Google uses to define what is “scholarly.”
Google Scholar Tips & Tricks
Finding recent papers
Your search results are normally sorted by relevance, not by date. To find newer articles, try the following options in the left sidebar:
- Click "Since Year" to show only recently published papers, sorted by relevance;
- Click "Sort by date" to show just the new additions, sorted by date;
- Click the envelope icon to have new results periodically delivered by email
Locating the full text of an article
Abstracts are freely available for most of the articles. Alas, reading the entire article may require a subscription. Here're a few things to try:
- Click a link labeled [PDF] to the right of the search result;
- Click "All versions" under the search result and check out the alternative sources;
- Click "Related articles" or "Cited by" under the search result to explore similar articles.
If you find an article and believe it will be most helpful to you, search in EbscoHost to see if it is available in the SPFHS databases. You can also try the databases through the Scotch Plains Public Library at www.scotlib.org.
Getting Better Answers
If you're new to the subject, it may be helpful to pick up the terminology from secondary sources. E.g., a Wikipedia article for " emphysema " might suggest a Scholar search for " Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease “ or “chronic obstructive lung disease.”
If the search results are too specific for your needs, check out what they're citing in their "References" sections. Referenced works are often more general in nature.
Similarly, if the search results are too basic for you, click "Cited by" to see newer papers that referenced them. These newer papers will often be more specific.
Explore! There's rarely a single answer to a research question. Click "Related articles" or "Cited by" to see closely related work, or search for author's name and see what else they have written.
(Adapted from Google)