Google Scholar Guide ; Here’s something that’s happened to most college students: It’s 20 minutes before your final paper is due, and you haven’t written a bibliography yet.
This situation, and everything that precedes it, is going to be more difficult if you don’t know about Google Scholar. Google’s customized search engine and tool for students and academics of all stripes was created by Anurag Acharya, a former academic who joined Google’s web-indexing team in 2000. Scholar allows you to search journals, save sources to your personal library and, yes, get quick citations.
Although Scholar celebrated its 10th anniversary in November, many students still don’t know about it unless they talk to a librarian, and the navigation toolbar on the main Google page doesn’t link to it. To help you out, just in time for finals, we’ve put together a quick guide to studying, saving and citing.
1. Search for journal articles.
The first thing you need to know about Google Scholar is that it works essentially like a regular ol’ search engine — to get the best results, you should be as specific as possible. Scholar is designed to return a combination of the most relevant and most cited pages, meaning you’ll get what’s been cited most by other academics (which are usually the most informative, reliable sources).
Keep in mind that Scholar can search both the title and article content for search terms, even if the content is locked to subscribers.
Once you’ve navigated to a results page, you’ll see information about the author, publisher and date for each entry. You’ll also see the location of the entry (for example, Google Books or JSTOR) and a link that says “other versions,” from which you can navigate to other webpages on which the article has appeared. A link on the left side of the page will link directly to the article and indicated its format (HTML, PDF, etc.).
2. Build (and search) libraries.
As you look through the results, you can save articles to your library. Once you add something to the library, you can view a comprehensive info sheet of the article, including the abstract, and put it under a label to organize it with similar sources.
For book entries, click “more,” and you’ll see a link that reads “Library Search.” This link will take you to the Worldcat.org page for that book, from which you can enter your ZIP code and check if you can find the book at your nearest library.
3. Set up alerts.
For students researching current events or developing medical discoveries, keeping up with the latest academic literature adds yet another task to an already difficult project. Scholar gives you the option of setting up alerts when there are new results for a specific search term (such as “Russia Ukraine conflict”), so you can stay updated when there new articles and books publish.
4. Read through case law.
On the Google Scholar homepage, you can choose to search articles of case law. This tool is most helpful for students in law school, but can also be used by high school students studying civics or U.S. government, and college students majoring in history or political science. You can limit your search to decisions from the Supreme Court, as well as search the federal, state and circuit courts.
5. Get quick citations.
Along with the other links under a Google Scholar search result, you’ll find the Cite button. A box will pop up with citations in different formats based on the article type, which you can easily copy and paste into a Word document or import into the citation managers that Google links in the box. This is a great feature for students who dread taking more than 10 minutes to complete their bibliographies or works cited.