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I love Google Scholar. It is useful for not only your research agenda, but also it is a tool to teach your students about.
When teaching students about finding academic research, no discussion is complete without Google Scholar. In fact, I tell my students this is my go to source… though I’m sure the library probably wouldn’t be happy to hear that.
GScholars primary purpose is as a search engine for scholarly articles. Simply goto: scholar.google.com and search for an article title, subject (e.g., a theory, construct), keyword, or author.
There’s much more to GScholar than a simple search. GScholar has some little known (and some very new!) features that are very useful. Here’s how to become a Google Scholar Power User, Part 1 – Advanced Search Features: (See: Post #2 in this series on Google Scholar Profiles).
It works just like Google, but it indexes academic publications. Many libraries are linked with Google Scholar, such that if you search Google Scholar and an article comes up that your school library has, you can access it directly through your search engine results. (While this often happens automatically when on campus, you can find out if your library has the article when away from campus as well. Go to your settings, click library, and do a search for your universities library. Then click save).
1) Advanced Article Access
Another great benefit is that sometimes articles are hosted online in various places, and you can find access to those articles that you would otherwise not have access to through your library.
Identifying this access is easy. To the right of the search result, you will see [PDF] available from XYZ or [HTML] available from. For an example, here is a search for my own research . Notice how the “Getting Political on Social Network Sites” is available as HTML from the online journal First Monday.
2) More Access Options
See an article that you want to get access to, but your library doesn’t have it and you don’t see a PDF version offered in the search results? Click “## versions” directly under the search result description. Sometimes, the primary result that Google shows does not provide access to the article, but alternative versions do. By clicking “## versions”, you may find that another version of the article is available online.
3) Related Articles
When conducting research, we’re often looking for research on a particular theory, construct, etc. So, if we find an article that fits our search goals, wouldn’t it be great to see what other articles are similar? The “Related Articles” link under the search entry does just that. For example, if I find an article on agenda setting in social media in a search result, and want to see more like it, rather than try a new search query, I’ll click “related articles” under the article I like for a whole host of articles related to agenda setting on social media.
4) Cited By Feature
The cited by feature offers a similar benefit to the “related articles” feature. It is very helpful because you can see who has cited this work. Why is that great? Because if the article you have found is of interest, likely those works that cited it are related and may be helpful! More so, they may have built on that study and thus their theory and findings may provide more recent insights and advancements to the topic you’re studying.
If you want to see more articles by a specific author, click an author’s name (such as my name in the example above). This will take you to the author’s profile on GScholar (if they have one) where you can see all the articles they’ve published. This is something I’ll discuss more in a future post.
Want the APA or MLA citation format for the article in your search result? Click cite. A window pops up and you can choose the citation you need. Quick. Easy. Super helpful. You can also import into particular format styles.
7) Google Scholar Library
This is a new feature and one I just discovered. It works sort of like how Mendely lets you create a library of articles. You need a Google Scholar account to use this feature – which is of course free and connected to your Google account.
What you get, is an online custom list of articles. When you enable Library, you are asked if you want to import all articles you’ve cited. That is, Google indexes all the articles you have cited in the online publications Google has associated with you.
To access your library click “My library” at scholar.google.com. To add articles to your library, in a search result, you can click “save” to save that article directly from search results into your library.
It seems the deleting articles requires you to click on them individually and then click delete. I found no mass editing.
You can set up labels to organize articles into categories. For example, I may have a label “politics” another “social networks” and another “blogs.” By clicking an article in your library, then clicking the ‘labels’ drop down you can create and select labels.
This is a brand new feature and it has a lot of potential. Given that I’m a big Mendeley user, the library feature may be redundant. But I’m going to play with it and see if it has added benefit. I do like the idea that it provides direct access to articles available online.
Here is the How to and FAQ of Google Scholar Libraries
That’s all for now!
The next 2 posts get beyond the basics of Google Search search results into Recommendations and Google Profiles. Check them out:
Do you use Google Scholar for search? What are your favorite features? What do you think about the new library feature?