Ms. Information answers your questions
Research papers can be daunting, especially when you're asked to find information in new ways. Most people like to stay with what is familiar to them, which is why many students like to find information for their papers online, which makes sense. You go to Google, or Yahoo, or Ask.com when you want to find a good restaurant, a movie review, or to settle an argument over whether they would have really driven those cars in 1972 in a movie you're watching - and you almost always find the answer.
You’re probably already aware that you’re not going to find scholarly articles (what is a scholarly article?) by searching Google, but many students have discovered Google Scholar. So the question remains, what is Google Scholar, and is it any good?
Google Scholar is a search engine that searches for scholarly articles that
are freely available online. If a journal is accessible only to
subscribers, that full text will not be available, but the abstract may be
(which is why it’s asking you to pay for it)*. In contrast, the library
pays for thousands of journal subscriptions (which you pay with your tuition), which
is what you’re searching when you use a library database. And many of those
articles you find for a price on Google Scholar are available for free through
the library! For more information about how Google Scholar works click here.
One feature Google Scholar has that could improve your searching is its ability to sync with our library. This means that you can configure Google Scholar to pick up
Roosevelt University's Library holdings, which will then allow
you to read the full-text of articles that Google Scholar found which
From here, you can follow the 'Go' link to read the article, which you're able to do because the RU Library pays for a subscription to the journal. Did you have any idea that the Library and Google Scholar were such tight pals?
Now, we must deal with the second part of our questions - should you use Google Scholar?
My personal recommendation is no. I would rather skip the 'middle-man' and just start at the databases. I prefer to craft my search in a database of journals that the librarians and faculty have selected to be relevant to my research and where I know I will be able to set limits for date, or peer-reviewed, or search by subject terms instead of keywords. Another advantage to database searching is the ability to choose a subject-specific database to avoid having to weed through all the articles that come up that have nothing to do with my topic. I suppose my primary reason for my preference of databases over Google Scholar is the opportunity to narrow my search, and that I've learned to use the databases successfully and easily (and we're happy to teach you to do the same). I find that with Google Scholar I get too many results that aren’t relevant to my research. However, if you like Google Scholar, remember to sync it with Roosevelt’s Library if you’re off campus, and do the work of narrowing down your search as much as possible, and eventually the database-searching process can be as simple as ‘googling’ or ‘you-tubing’ anything else.
** To get to Google Scholar through the library website, Start at the library main page and look for Google Scholar under Online Resources A-Z or Online Resources by Subject (and click on General/Multi-Subject)
Do you have a question for Ms. Information? Ms. Information welcomes your questions about research, libraries, and how to find all kinds of information. Submit your question to mhaller [at] roosevelt [dot] edu.