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What is Google Scholar?
"Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research."1
Accessing Google Scholar
- Mouseover the articles, books, & more tab at the top of the Twin Cities Library website, and select Databases. Choose Google Scholar from the list.
- Off-campus users: You will be prompted to enter your Saint Mary's University username and password after you select a database.
- By accessing Google Scholar through the Library's link, you can use Full Text Options - SMU (see below for details).
Full Text Options - SMU
Full Text Options - SMU is a one-click linking system that connects you from your Google Scholar search results to the free full text of the articles via Saint Mary's databases (when available). Select the Full Text Options - SMU link to access the resource, or, if it is unavailable, easily order it through Interlibrary Loan.
Set up Full Text Options - SMU on your computer:
- On Google Scholar's main page, select
- Select Library links, in the left sidebar.
- Search for Saint Mary's. Do not abbreviate the word Saint.
- Select Saint Mary's University of Minnesota - Full Text Options - SMU.
- Select Save.
- If you are off campus and use Full Text Options - SMU, you will be prompted to enter your Saint Mary's ID and password (same as for Blackboard/Engage or WebMail).
Searching Tips specific to Google
Searching multiple terms
- Google automatically inserts the word AND between search terms. This means every word you type into the Google search box will appear in each result.
- Google treats search terms as separate words in close proximity.
- Example: peanut butter is searched as both a phrase ("peanut butter") and as pair of words relevant to, but separated from, each other (peanut oil in butter)
- Be careful when choosing terms to search. Google will search for all the terms you've entered, so include only those terms relevant to your research question.
- Good example: diabetes prevention "adult-onset"
- Bad example: 55 years old and fried cheese curds and The Beetus
Using quotation marks
- To search a phrase such as "No Child Left Behind" you'll want to enclose the terms in quotation marks. Quotation marks command Google to only pull results containing the phrase exactly as you've written it.
- If you want search results that contain one of several words, type OR in between each term. This broadens your search, and is great for searching synonyms.
- Good example: Iowa immigrants university OR "higher education" OR college
- Bad example (too broad of a search): university OR immigrants
- Note: Google ignores the word "or" unless you type it in capital letters: OR
Exclude words using a minus (-) sign
- Excluding certain words from your results can be helpful when searching words common in phrases or appearing in pairs. By placing a minus (-) sign right before a word, you tell Google to exclude that word from the entirety of your search results
- Example: Twins -baseball
On the search results page, access a premade APA citation by selecting Cite, located under the title and abstract of the article. Note: Always check the citations for formatting accuracy.
On the search results page, save articles in My library, a feature of Google Scholar that appears when you are signed into your Google account. Select Save below a search result to save it to your library where you can read or cite it later. Select My library to see all the articles in your library.
1. Google. (2013). About Google Scholar. Retrieved from http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html