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Search Engines and Library Databases: Google Scholar

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is a Web Search engine run by Google that indexes scholarly literature like peer-reviewed journals, academic books, conference papers, and more.

As such, Google Scholar is a good way to find "grey literature," or material like conference papers that have not been published in traditional ways.

However, Google Scholar may have more "noise" in its results, including non-scholarly and duplicate material.

Google Scholar is good for
  • Helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest
  • Finding "grey 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
  • Locating more information on partial citations
Google Scholar cannot
  • As with Google and other Web Search Engines there is limited Advanced search
  • Relies on Keywords, not expert Metadata
  • Limit search results (beyond year, no "Peer Reviewed," etc.)
  • Search the deep web
Advanced Search with Google Scholar

Google Scholar has an Advanced search function, however, much like Google, it is a Web Search engine, not a Library Database. Google Scholar may search through Academic sources, but it still uses the search methodology of Crawling and Indexing, not expert Cataloguing.

homepage for google scholar

The down arrow to the right of the search box accesses Google Scholar's advanced search features. This advanced search will allow you to search for specific phrases, as well as authors and date ranges.

Advanced search options

You will note this looks different to most advanced search screens, however, this still has most of the same functionality of other Search engines and Library databases. "At least one" of the words is similar in function to the "OR" Boolean operator, for example.

Filtering Your Results

Narrow your results by using the refine options, located on the left side of the search results screen:

  • Custom range ... (date)
  • Sort by date or relevance
  • Include citations - un-tick this option to see only full text references (not recommended).
Article Specifics

Once you have results there are a number of options for each item:

  • "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.
  • "FindIt@ECU" will direct you to library databases that contain the article.
Linking Google Scholar with your ECU Student Account

Google Scholar interlinks with ECU Library systems.

Google Scholar returns a lot of results, some of which may be available via free PDF, however, many are behind Library Database pay-walls.

By linking your Google Scholar account with ECU Library, Google Scholar will allow you to link directly to our subscription Databases, allowing you free access to material ECU owns.

Go to the Settings menu on the Google Scholar site, to Library Links, and search for "Edith Cowan University."

Once selected, you will find "FindIt@ECU" as an option below every result.


Note: In order to use these functions, you require a Google Sign-In and allow Google to save Cookies in your Browser (somewhat impinging your Privacy).