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Google Scholar: What, Where, Why, How?

What, Where, Why, How?

Google Scholar Page

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is Google's academic search engine that searches across scholarly literature. It has extensive coverage, retrieving information from: 

  • academic publishers
  • professional organizations
  • university repositories 
  • professional websites covering all disciplines

Google Scholar can be a good place to start a search, helping to:

  • Locate obscure references difficult to find in library databases
  • Find more details on partial citations or incorrectly cited works
  • Identify grey literature not often indexed elsewhere
  • Discover useful journals or databases to explore in more detail

Google Scholar vs Library Databases

While it might be tempting to just search Google Scholar, library databases provide a more efficient and effective means to access information.

Benefits of searching databases instead of Google Scholar include:

  • Limit search to particular fields e.g. title, abstract or by subject
  • Retrieve manageable number of results, with ability to refine search
  • Results are limited to verfied and scholarly content
  • Material is indexed to allow for more accurate and targeted searching
  • Access material via library subscription

Why Can't I Just Google?

Linking Google Scholar to Mount Databases From Off Campus

Go to Google Scholar

Go to Settings 

Choose Library Links

Type in:  Mount St. Mary's University: check the following boxes

Using Google Scholar

What Type of Website Is It?

Always check the URL of a website to determine what type of site  from which the information is coming:

.edu : an educational institution

.gov : a government body

.org : an organization

.com : a commercial site


Finding Full Text

The majority of journal articles in Google Scholar are available via subscription only and you will often be asked to pay a fee to access an article.

However, the Library subscribes to many of these journals. Login in to Google Scholar via the  page. This will allow you to access the full-text of articles.

Google Scholar Library

Google Scholar Library allows you to save and organize your own collection of articles within Scholar.

  • Click 'save' below a search result to add it to your library. 
  • Click 'my library' to access your saved articles
  • Can be linked to your Google Scholar Profile

Find Similar Articles

When you find a relevant article, Google Scholar will link to additional articles via:

Related articles: A list of similar articles and resources.

Cited by: A list of publications citing that article.

Both these links are available under every search result.


Receive email updates based on your search criteria:

  • Perform your search
  • Select 
  • Check your search terms
  • Enter your email address and select number of results
  • Select Create alert

You can also be notified when a particular article is cited:

  • Perform your search
  • Select Cited by below the appropriate article
  • Then select Create alert
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