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Google Scholar: What is Google Scholar?

A guide on using Google Scholar to effectively conduct your research.

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. 

Pros of Using Google Scholar:

  • Full-text when available
  • Familiarity for users; similar features to a Google web search
  • Citation information provided
  • Searches vast array of information (i.e. preprints, technical reports)

Cons of Using Google Scholar

  • No limiter for just scholarly publications or peer review
  • Few options to limit or narrow search results
  • Full-text not available or restricted access without a subscription
  • Users still need to go through library resources to access full text