When using Google Scholar, it is helpful to keep these questions in mind:
- What features does it have to help me get relevant results?
- What does this tool do well?
- What does it do poorly?
As a research tool, Google Scholar is good for many tasks, and not as good for others. When deciding whether to use Google Scholar or one of the Library's subscription databases, please keep the following in mind:
Google Scholar is good for...
- Helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
- 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
Keep in Mind:
- You may get a long list of results, but you will only have access to the text of articles that the NSCC Library has paid subscriptions for, or that are freely available.
- Not everything in Google Scholar is scholarly. Google Scholar searches academic websites (.edu) as well as journals and publisher websites.
- It is difficult to determine with what Google Scholar indexes. It is up to the researcher to judge if the source is good for them.
- Searching in Google Scholar is imprecise when compared with discipline-specific databases.
(from University of Illinois)