Google Scholar: What is it and How to use it

You may or may not have heard of Google Scholar.  Google Scholar is a tool for finding scholarly articles. It covers all subject areas and includes content from many publishers (but not all) as well as content that authors and organizations put up on the Web themselves.

Use Google Scholar with Your College Login to Access Full-Text Articles

If you log in to Google Scholar using your college login, your search results list will have links to available full-text in the library databases. To log in to Google Scholar, you have two options:

  1. Access Google Scholar via any of the links or search boxes within the Library web site and Subject Guides
  2. Go directly to

Why should I access Google Scholar via the Online Library?

By logging in with your college username and password, you are routing Google Scholar through the library’s database login. This is the only way for full-text articles available in our databases to appear in your search results.  Since Google Scholar often charges fees for access to articles, knowing that you can get the article through the library’s databases can save you money.

Use Google Scholar When:

  • You are looking for a specific article (i.e., you know the title of the article and or author, etc.)
  • You aren’t sure which database to search
  • You are researching multi-disciplinary topics (within two or more fields, like the history of teaching evolution in schools)

Don’t Use Google Scholar When:

How Do I Use Google Scholar?

  • If you know the article you want, type in some of the information you have such as author last name (note that many publications do not use author first names) and/or words from the title. Use quotation marks around exact phrases of 2+ words:advanced search for articles using Amstrong and coronary heart disease
  • If you are searching by subject: type in keywords that most succinctly describe your topic:search for Panama Canal historyGoogle provides help pages and details about advanced search techniques.

Citation Feature and Import to RefWorks

When you use Google Scholar through the library page, you can click on Cite and get citations for the article and you can also Import the citation to your RefWorks account.   When you use this feature, make sure the citation format matches the format your instructor wants you to use.  You may need to make some adjustments.