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PAL Research Guide

About Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a free search engine that indexes scholarly literature from a wide variety of sources, formats, and disciplines. This index includes peer-reviewed academic materials, conference papers and proceedings, dissertations and theses, as well as court opinions and patents. This indexing also creates a series of links that can directly connect you to each work that was cited and can also connect you to works that have cited the article or theses you are looking at. This is known as citation chasing and is something that Google Scholar is exceptionally good at.

Google Scholar VS Academic Databases

What's the difference between Google Scholar and an academic database like Ebsco or ProQuest?

Academic databases are searchable collections of published sources that let you know exactly what books, journals, conferences, etc...they are pulling their content from. In many databases, you can easily find a list of publications they are pulling citations from. That means you can tell if you'll be able to find articles from Nature in the database or not. Additionally, academic databases frequently have a subject specific focus and have many options for limiting search results.

Google scholar is also a searchable collection of published sources, but because Google keeps their proprietary information private, they do not share where they are pulling their content from. We don't know exactly where the citations are coming from, what will be included, or what might be missing. Additionally, Google Scholar covers all disciplines and only has a few advanced search options.

Should I Use Google Scholar For My Research?

Google Scholar is good for...

  • 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.
  • Locating obscure references that are proving difficult to find in conventional databases.
  • Locating more information on partial citations.

Google Scholar cannot...

  • Sort/search by disciplinary field
  • Browse by title
  • Limit search results
  • Search the deep web

Keep in Mind:

  • You may get a long list of results, but you will only have access to the text of articles that the Roosevelt University Library has paid subscriptions for, or that are freely available.
  • Not everything in Google Scholar is scholarly. Google Scholar searches academic websites (.edu) as well as journals and publisher websites. Search results can include PowerPoints, news announcements or unpublished materials as well as articles and books. 
  • Searching in Google Scholar is imprecise when compared with discipline-specific databases.

Citation Chasing in Google Scholar

Forward

  1. Navigate to Google Scholar - make sure you are actually in Google Scholar, not just a normal Google search.
  2. Select Advanced Scholar Search by clicking the arrow on the right-hand side of the search field.
  3. In Advanced Scholar Search, enter information about the article. For example, we can search for the title "Basic Local Search Alignment Tool" in the "with all of the words" search field. Then, we can enter SF Altschful as the author in the field "Return Articles authored by."
  4. In the search results there will be a "Cited by" link beneath the article citation that shows the number of sources Google Scholar found citing the article.
  5. Clicking on the "Cited by" link gives a list of articles that have cited the article.

Note: Google Scholar will likely produce more cited references than Scopus, but some of these may be duplicates. Google does not provide a complete list of all the publications it indexes, so it is difficult to know if Google Scholar provides comprehensive citation counts.

Backward

  1. Navigate to Google Scholar - make sure you are actually in Google Scholar, not just a normal Google search.
  2. Select Advanced Scholar Search by clicking the arrow on the right-hand side of the search field.
  3. In Advanced Scholar Search, enter information about the article. For example, we can search for the title "Basic Local Search Alignment Tool" in the "with all of the words" search field. Then, we can enter SF Altschful as the author in the field "Return Articles authored by."
  4. Locate the search result that matches your search terms. You can click on the item title OR the hyperlinks to the right of the record item to access either more information about the article or to find a direct link to the .pdf of the article. If you do not have the ability to access the article, try searching for it using the Roosevelt University Library catalog. If you need help, please contact the Performing Arts Library.
  5. If you cannot locate an article, please do not purchase it. Contact the Library first.

Advanced Options in Google Scholar

Performing Advanced Searches:

To perform an advanced search, first, click the menu button in the top-left corner (also called the hamburger button), and a drop-down menu will appear, then click "Advanced Search":

Clicking on Advanced Search will give you a number of options that will allow you to refine your search and make it more precise. You will have the option of searching by subject, author, or date of publication. You will also be able to search for articles that do not contain a particular term. This box will look like this:

Please see https://libguides.roosevelt.edu/PALResearchGuide/AdvancedSearching  for more information about advanced searching.


Saving Searches and Finding Related Articles

Underneath each search result are a number of options you can use:

  • The star feature will allow you to save an article in your library.
  • The quoatation marks will give you a generated citation in the 5 most popular styles and options to import to several citation managers.
  • "Cited By" will show you a list of works that cited this article.
  • "Related Articles" will direct you to articles on the same or a similar subject.