Google Scholar

Google Scholar pulls data from resources like PubMed and cross-references it with data collected from the open web. Google Scholar looks for your word or phrase within the full-text of resources, including books, articles, and reports.

To create a more specific search in Google Scholar, use the Advanced Search menu. Specific fields in the Advanced Search menu mimic Boolean search terms.  The Advanced Search menu also allows you to limit your search by a specific author, data range, or publication.  To access the Advancer Search menu, click on the button with three horizontal bars on the upper left corner of the Google Scholar page.

This tutorial from the EMU library has more information on using Advanced Search in Google Scholar.

If Scholar finds the full text available online, you’ll find a link (to a PDF, a Word document, or the HTML text) in the column on the right. If an open version is available, Google will almost always have found it. If you begin a search in Scholar and don’t find a link for an open version of an article, check PubMed as well.

Google Scholar may be easier for some students to navigate than other databases, but it lacks some of the search capabilities. The table below summarizes Google Scholar strengths and weaknesses.

Google Scholar Strengths and Weaknesses

Google Scholar Strengths Google Scholar Weaknesses
  • Getting the “big picture” of the scholarly discourse around a topic.
  • Viewing books, articles, conference proceedings, and more in one list.
  • Determining authors and publications in an area of interest.
  • Tracking down incomplete citations.
  • Limiting and sorting results by type (eg. peer reviewed articles, full-text, reviews).
  • Searching within a specific discipline
  • Browsing by journal title.
  • Doing a comprehensive search for a literature review.
  • Using controlled vocabulary to search by subject.
  • Emailing lists of search results.
Table 1: NYU Libraries. Advanced Google Searching: Google Scholar. New York University Libraries website. Oct 18, 2017. Accessed July 30, 2018.