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Google vs. Google Scholar: How to Search Like a Scholar

When you do a search on Google on your paper topic, do you typically get the most relevant, useful search results? Probably not. Find out why Google Scholar may be the better option when doing research for your paper in this fast-paced, yet eye-opening video by educator Renee Swensen Nimtz. Renee previously discussed how to research a paper topic using a university's library and other resources. In this video she reviews the difference between doing a search on Google and Google Scholar, and demonstrates how to search for scholarly resources. Knowing how to how to search like a scholar will help you become a scholar!

Watch the video:

What is the difference between Google and Google Scholar? from Turnitin on Vimeo.

How to Use Google Scholar for Research

You may have heard that Google is not the best “first stop shop” in doing research, and I agree, but I’m going to change things on you a bit.

Google can allow you to search like a professional researcher through Google Scholar.

There are some major differences between Google and Google Scholar.

Google, for example, ranks its hits using many factors, but one factor is by popularity, so you can imagine that some websites, like Wikipedia and other commercial sites, are more popular than others, like an academic journal article or university website. So you are less likely to get the scholarly source you want from the regular Google search.

Google Scholar, on the other hand, offers scholarly research that is prioritized, according to Google, “the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature.” Wikipedia, in other words, won’t be one of the first hits on the list.

Google scholar, in Google’s own words “provides searches for articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.”

When you do a search in Google Scholar and locate sources, you may still need to visit your library database to find the sources that are published yet not offered full text online.  You may find some of the sources are available for you to download.

As a student writing for an academic audience, you should be using academic scholarship as sources for your writing.  Library databases and Google Scholar are a great place to start your search and becoming a scholar yourself.

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