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CRIM 4000 Research Methods (Brault)

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Locating Articles

Once you have searched, your results will look like this. The options below allow you to do the following:

  • "Cited By" will show you a list of works that cited this article.
  • "Related Articles" will direct you to articles on the same or a similar subject.
  • "FullText@ McQuade" (often located under "More") will direct you to library databases that contain the article.

Getting Started

Before searching Google Scholar, it's a good idea to set your preferences to connect to McQuade Library. Doing so will allow you to discover articles through the Library's subscription databases. You can change your settings by clicking the gear icon Gear Icon near the top of the Google Scholar search page.

In Scholar Settings choose "Library Links."

Search for Merrimack College.

Choose:

Open WorldCat Library Search

McQuade Library Merrimack College - FullText @ McQuade Library

How to Incorporate it into your Searching

Google Scholar searches specifically for scholarly materials such as journal articles, research reports, dissertations and theses, preprints, technical reports, patents, manuscripts in preparation, working papers and many other document types.

When you do a search in Google Scholar, you get a list of citations. You'll get links to the full text in the following cases:

  • if tMcQuade library subscribes to the journal title
  • if it's from an open access journal
  • if the researcher posted the article on her/his website.

We don't really know how Google Scholar indexes items, but this is how Google Scholar defines the weighting system:

"Google Scholar aims to sort articles the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each article, the author, the publication in which the article appears, and how often the piece has been cited in other scholarly literature." The most relevant results will always appear on the first page. (http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html)

Remember, Google's goal is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," but researchers need to learn to critically evaluate research materials.

Google does not search the deep web (aka invisible web or hidden web). These terms refer to World Wide Web content that is not part of the surface Web indexed by search engines. It is estimated that the deep Web is several orders of magnitude larger than the surface Web (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_web). This means that Google Scholar cannot find everything that might be of use to you.

Is it right for my research?

As a research tool, Google Scholar is good for many tasks, and not as good for others. When deciding whether to use Google Scholar or one of the library's education databases, keep in mind:

Google Scholar is good for...

  • Helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
  • Finding "gray literature" like conference proceedings. It includes many articles that wouldn't get included in other indexing services.
  • Locating obscure references that are proving difficult to find in conventional databases.
  • Accessing books and articles in a single search.
  • Locating more information on partial citations.

Google Scholar cannot...

  • Sort/search by disciplinary field
  • Browse by title
  • Limit search results
  • Search the deep web

Keep in Mind:

  • You may get a long list of results, but you will only have access to the text of articles that McQuade Library has paid subscriptions for, or that are freely available.
  • Not everything in Google Scholar is scholarly. Google Scholar searches academic websites (.edu) as well as journals and publisher websites. Search results can include powerpoints, news annoucements or unpublished materials as well as articles and books. 
  • It is difficult to determine with 100% accuracy all that Google Scholar searches. Therefore, we do not know the breadth of what Google Scholar is indexing and consequently cannot judge the comprehensiveness or completeness of the results of a literature search.
  • We cannot tell how frequently items in Google Scholar are updated.
  • Searching in Google Scholar is imprecise when compared with education databases like ERIC.

Advanced Searching

Search Google Scholar

Like Google, Google Scholar also has an advanced search function to enable more precise searching. Additional functionalities include determining how your search terms should be searched, searching by author or source publication and limiting by date.

To access the advanced search hover over the drop down arrow from the main search box.