Public Relations Today
By Ryan Devlin • May 21, 2015

How Students Can Use Google Scholar for Research

We’re living in the information age. 

Everything we want to know is available to us from our pockets.When it comes to utilizing these tools to complete assignments, it is important to use reliable sources of information and accurately cite them.  Google Scholar - from our friends at Google - makes it easy to do both. Here's how.


“Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. You search for these articles much like you would search for anything else on Google.

Unlike Google Search, Google Scholar only uses published works, allowing you to search across  disciplines and sources. Scholar includes journal articles, theses, books, abstracts, court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, university publications, and highly reputable web sites. 


Google Scholar was designed to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, and how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature.


Once you search for something, 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 indicate its format (HTML, PDF, etc.)

Case Law and Patent Search


If you’re studying for law school you also have quick access to thousands of articles of case law.  

Even if you’re not a law student, and you're just studying civics, history, or political science, you can reference past cases or historic supreme court verdicts.

Advanced Search


While the main search option lets you search similar to how you normally do in Google, the grey arrow on the right side of the search box brings up a robust advanced search.This is where you can really dive in and get specific about what type of research you need.


You can also set up alerts if your deep in researching current events or want to be on the bleeding edge of developing medical treatments. 

Having the latest and most current information can give students a leg up in writing reports or studying for a test. You can also subscribe to certain topics and Google Scholar will send you an alert when there are new results for your specific search term such as “lung cancer treatment” so you can be updated as soon as a new medical journal or news article is posted. 

Citing is Simple

As you comb through more and more scholarly literature, you can save your preferred articles to your own library. When you click on your library you can organize them by topic, add labels, and view the abstract. 

When you’re getting ready to start a huge term paper you can have all your favorite sources neatly organized and ready to cite. Under each search result is a convenient "cite" button. A pop-up box will appear with citations in different formats based on the article type. You can paste this information into your document or import to your citation manger that Google provides. 

This is great news for students who can’t remember the difference between MLA and APA formats or the proper way to cite a web page or a library book.


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