Google Scholar is a search engine that provides links to articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and scholarly articles posted on the web.
Many students feel comfortable starting their research using Google Scholar because of its similarity to Google's internet search engine.
However, because it is a search engine and not a database, it is important to get to know some of the functionality and limitations of Google Scholar first.
This guide will review:
Before you begin your search, you will want to set up your Library Links. Google Scholar allows you to connect your search results to your library's holdings through EZproxy, so that you can access the full text of articles made available by your institutional subscriptions.
How to get there: From the Google Scholar Homepage, you will click on the dropdown menu symbol (the "hamburger") in the upper-left corner. In the dropdown menu, select Settings. In Settings, there is an option for Library Links on the left-hand side. You will then enter your library's name in the search box, and press the magnifying glass to search. Select your library when it appears.
This ensures that your search results will include links to the databases in your collection that have full text copies of the articles you discover. For example:
The link to "Full Text @ My Library" will take you from Google Scholar to the full text options for this article in our Journal Finder tool.
Please note: If you are on campus using Babson WiFi, you should automatically be linked to library holdings. However, if you are off campus or in an area with a weak campus Wifi connection, you have to set up Library Links to see links to Horn Library holdings. To save your settings, you will need to create a Google account. You can do so here.
To search effectively in Google Scholar from the main page, it is helpful to be well-versed in Boolean search strategies. On the main search page, you have the choice to set your document type to articles or case law.
If you'd like to use the Advanced Search option, you can access it by clicking the dropdown menu symbol (the "hamburger") in the upper left corner and choosing "Advanced Search".
In Advanced Search you have the ability to narrow or broaden your search by searching for your key terms or phrases anywhere in the article, or in the title of the article.
You may also choose to limit your search by author, publication or date range.
Results from a Google Scholar search yield a variety of scholarly sources consisting of journal articles, books, technical reports, legal cases, grey literature, patents, and pre-prints, among others. The order that your search results are listed in is determined by what Google considers to be the most relevant listing, not the most appropriate for your assignment.
Please note: You cannot filter by source type. Google Scholar will also not indicate what type of document it is, so it is the user's responsibility to differentiate among the documents represented in their search results.
If full text is available, Google Scholar will link to either "Full Text @ My Library", a particular Horn Library Database, or a website where it is freely available (i.e. the publisher's website). Any source that is not available in full text can be requested as an Interlibrary Loan through the Horn Library.
The "Cited by" feature shows you how many times this article was cited by others. This is a good indicator for how useful this source has been for other people, and can also be a way to find related articles.
Another way to find related articles, is to choose the "Related articles" link, you can unlock a new list of search results filled with similar titles. If you find an article that is relevant to your information need, you might be interested in looking at similar articles.
The other useful tool that you will find right on the search results page, is the citation tool, represented by quotation marks beneath each article. Like any other citation tool, it is important to review the citation for errors before using it in your assignment.
Have trouble connecting to library subscribed content via Google Scholar? Want one-click access to library subscribed scholarly articles? Want to avoid paywalls on publisher sites? Try the library’s new browser extension, LibKey Nomad. This browser extension seamlessly connects users to library subscribed content saving researchers time and possibly money. For more information, see our information guide.