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Google Scholar: Google Scholar FAQs

Google Scholar FAQ's

What are the advantages to using Google Scholar? 

A Google Scholar search uses natural language. Your search is interdisciplinary, retrieving broad results. Each citation retrieved includes a "Cited by" reference which links to other articles that have used the retrieved article in its references.

What are the disadvantages to using Google Scholar? 

The search results are organized by relevancy ranking rather than reverse chronology; older results may appear first. As with any Internet resource, it is important to carefully assess each citation for it's appropriateness and relevance to your search. Not all of the Google Scholar results can be considered "scholarly" in nature

What is the best way to search Google Scholar? 

Google Scholar can be searched using natural language, just as you would use in any Google web search. Using quotation marks around a phrase is helpful. Ex: "elementary education". Google Scholar's Advanced Scholar Search feature will allow you to narrow your searches to the most relevant literature. Author, publication, title word and date range searches are part of this feature.

What subject areas does Google Scholar cover? 

While Google Scholar is an interdisciplinary resource, its search capabilities and content are strongest in science and technology, with new material being added in the social sciences and humanities.

What should I do if I am asked to pay for full text? 

Google Scholar links to versions of papers and articles on publisher websites. If a publisher does not recognize GWU as a subscriber, these sites will ask you to buy a subscription or pay for articke access. DON'T PAY commercial prices for articles! Check WCC Library's E-Journal page for access options.

What should I do if full-text is not available? 

If the WCC Library does not have full-text or print access to a journal, Interlibrary loan is a free option for WCC students and faculty.

How does Google Scholar differ from the Library's databases? 

Google Scholar is a useful place to start, but you can rely on the Library's databases as your BEST source for scholarly materials on a topic. Databases provide extensive coverage of scholarly information. The Library has paid for you to access the many databases available in the A to Z list of databases, so make sure you use a range of these resources and not just Google Scholar alone.