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Google Like a Scholar: Google Scholar

Learn to be a Power Searcher in Google
Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a special version of Google designed for searching scholarly literature. It covers peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports fro, all broad areas of research.

Google Scholar is a powerful index of scholarly literature across disciplines, languages, time periods, and publishing formats.

It's noted for quickly surfacing highly cited peer-reviewed articles, as well as:

  • abstracts
  • books
  • case law and patents
  • conference papers
  • dissertations and theses
  • preprints
  • reports
  • web pages of a scholarly nature

Your Ursuline College ID and password allow you to make the most of provided links, granting access to full text available through Ursuline College Library subscriptions.

When you are on campus and searching Google Scholar; you will be able to access any full text resources that the library has a subscription.  When you are off campus, you can make these full text resources visiable by logging into your email or D2L account first 

The Way Google Scholar Works

Iceberg. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 17 Feb 2016.

What do Google Scholar and the iceberg shown above have in common? Often, when we talk about search engines versus scholarly databases, we go into a discussion of the visible versus the deep web. The visible web is easily-crawled by the spiders and data harvesters that create massive web indices for Google, Bing, and other search engines. The deep web is not so easy. The deep web contains things that spiders cannot crawl. Unfortunately, the content in the Deep Web often includes our scholarly databases!

What are some of the limits of using algorithms? Google Scholar employs fewer than a dozen people, and it has a search engine index of academic articles so large that no one knows its exact size. By contrast, companies like Thomson Reuters that produce the Web of Science have thousands of employees. Academic endeavors such as MathSciNet, which employs ~100 people, focus on specific disciplines. Even the Astrophysics Data System, which has a small team, networks with librarians and information specialists around the world to crowd-source some aspects of their information platform.

Google Scholar cannot review the integrity or the quality of the data going into its pipeline. As with the rest of the web, you are working with whatever data Google's spiders can glean. Often, that data has errors. Papers will have garbled titles. Some citations that you cannot click through (which Google harvests from bibliographies) are actually just papers that have been incorrectly cited for decades, so Google can't find the full text and the author can't exactly get credit. Authors may be missing. Entire swaths of text may be corrupted or garbled. Google cannot fix any of this, and they leave it up to the web sites providing the erroneous data to make the edits on their own platforms. Any edits take 6-9 months to show in Google Scholar.

So, should I use Google Scholar? Google Scholar isn't a bad tool — everything has its positive and negative sides. Rather, this guide will hopefully give you some of the tools you need to ensure that you can get to the full text.

Google Scholar is good for...

  • Helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
  • Finding "gray literature" like white papers. 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


Google Scholar

A useful Handout from Yale University

This video was made for another University; however the information is still true for Ursuline College.  

The directions are listed below, too.


Connect Google Scholar To Your Library Access

Set Google Scholar to search Ursuline and OhioLINK databases and electronic resources.


  • Click Settings
  • Click Library Links
  • Type [Ursuline College] into the search box
  • Select the box
  • Type [Ohiolink] in to the search box
  • Select the box
  • Click Save

*Remember to have full text assess to articles and ebooks that the Besse Library provides for students, sign in with your Ursuline email and password.