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Understanding Google Scholar: A Student’s Guide

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is a web search engine that focuses on finding scholarly literature and academic resources. Unlike regular Google, which searches a wide range of public web content, Google Scholar is designed to help you find scholarly articles, books, theses, conference papers, and other academic materials.

Why is Google Scholar Different from Google?

You might have heard your teacher say, “Don’t use Google” for academic research. This advice refers to the regular Google search engine, which indexes a broad spectrum of public web content, much of which may not be reliable or scholarly. In contrast, Google Scholar specifically searches for academic and scholarly resources, making it a more suitable tool for academic research.

How Does Google Scholar Compare to the Library’s Databases?

Google Scholar and your Library’s databases both provide access to scholarly materials, and there is often overlap in the content they offer. Many citations found in Google Scholar will link directly to full-text articles available in your Library’s databases or other public databases. Note that Google Scholar does not contain everything that is available in the Library’s databases.

It is not a replacement for the comprehensive resources available through your Library’s databases. Using both Google Scholar and your Library’s resources can give you a more complete view of the academic material available on your topic.