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ENVR 300 Research Methods: Google Scholar

Using Google Scholar - 2 Options


Google Scholar is great for research that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries, like Environmental Studies. It allows you to cross-search several databases at once in a way that was never before possible, and to get back valid, scholarly, immediately-useful search results through our library holdings.  

The box on the left shows you how Google Scholar interfaces with one of our paid-for database/search engines (Web of Science) and gives you the full-text link if or when our resource doesn't provide us with total access to the journal article in question.


The box on the right shows you how you can directly search in the 'native' Google Scholar interface, and how you can make sure that in this interface that you are linked into SU Libraries - which will mean that any full-text articles that we have access to, you will automatically be given access to as well!  

Using Google Scholar through an SU Database

 Using the connectivity between an SU search engine/database (in this example, Web of Science) and Google Scholar is extremely simple!  

Searching in Web of Science (WoS) is very similar to searching in any other database or search engine that you might have used before.  Below, you will see a series of screenshots and step by step explanations showing how to search through WoS.  Reading through the steps and looking at the screenshots will help you to independently work your way through a Web of Science search, see how Google Scholar is integrated to best provide you with full-text results when our paid-for resources are not able to do so, and how to fully understand your results!


Start off by typing your key terms into the search box.  An example showing how to search for journal articles on the two key terms x-ald and inflammation is below.  

(Note that in this example, the two key terms are connected with the word AND.  
Doing so tells the search engine that the key term x-ald and the key terminflammation must both be present in your journal article results

Web of Science search box

After you type your keywords into the search box, hit the Search button to search through the database and look for journal articles related to your topic.  Some of the journal articles will have a very visible link that you can use to access the full-text of the article.  Others will not have this visible full-text link, and as such you'll need to click on the FindIt button instead to have the computer system look through all 150+ other databases that we subscribe to in order to see if that article is available through one of those instead.  The good news is that this process only takes a few seconds!

full text and find it button shown next to journal article links


When you click on the FindIt button, you will be taken to a new tab/window that looks like the screen shot below.  Many times this new tab/window will provide you with immediate full text access to the article through a different one of our databases.  If this happens, this is great!  Just click on the full-text link and you will be taken to the article so that you can read/save/export it.  


find it window showing full text link available through another SU Libraries database

If you do not see a Full Text link providing you with immediate full text access through another one of our databases, you will be given an option to request access to it through Inter-Library Loan - you will also be shown a Google Scholar link that you can click on.  


Find It window showing both interlibrary loan link and Google Scholar link options


As the FindIt button has already searched all of our other database holdings, clicking on the Google Scholar link will rarely provide you with any  additional full-text options unless (!) the article is freely available to everyone and anyone through Open Access (which sadly doesn't happen as often as it should).   If you click on the Google Scholar link and the article is freely available (yay!) your results will look like the image below.  Clicking on the title of the article will only give you more information about that article.  If you want the full-text of the article, click on the PDF link to the right of the title to get that!  


Google scholar search result with pdf full text link shown to right of journal article title


If the full-text of the article has not been made freely available to everyone and anyone who wants it - then when you click on the FindIt button and then choose the Google Scholar option, you will generally be taken to the initial Google Scholar record for the article, which will give you basic citation information.  Clicking on the full title of the Google Scholar record then typically takes you to the publisher's website, where you can see far more information about the article - and usually shows you how you can purchase full-text access to this article for a stupidly-high amount of money.  

 journal article shown in google scholar search results  ⇒  journal article shown on publisher website with full text access cost of thirty nine dollars and ninety-nine cents


This full-text access charge is called a 'paywall'.  It is a virtual wall that blocks your access to the article unless you are willing to pay for it.  


There is no reason for you to pay for journal article access!


If you ever hit this paywall, simply go back to the FindIt button window, and click on the Inter-Library Loan link.  Doing so will tell us that you need a copy of the article - and we'll use our online system to connect up with another library who does have access to the article, and we'll work to get you a free, electronic copy of the article as quickly as we can!

interlibrary loan link in the find it button window

Using Google Scholar Directly

It is nicely straightforward to use Google Scholar just by itself if you want to do a basic search across several search engine/databases that do not otherwise interact with each other.  To make sure that you are accessing all of the resources that we pay for, however, you need to make sure that you have added Salisbury University as our library before you begin searching.  Doing this is extremely easy - just follow the steps below!


1.). Navigate your way to Google Scholar and look for the three-bar "stack" in the upper left hand corner.  This is where you will find the Settings option.  

google scholar home page with arrow pointing towards settings link       google scholar settings option

2.  Under Settings, choose the Library links option.  This will open up a new window with an empty box in it.  In that box, type in Salisbury University, and then hit the 'search' button.  

Salisbury University entered into the library links search box in google scholar

3.  Once you have done that, two additional checkbox options will appear below the search box - both listing options for Salisbury University.  Check them both off, then hit Save.  

all salisbury checkboxes selected for library links option in google scholar

Now you are good to go!  You can start searching for whatever it is that you are looking for, and your search results will be displayed in a "regular" Google-like way.  But this time, you will see any full-text links that are available through SU Libraries linked to the right of the article title, and clicking on that right-hand link will take you to the SU login/SU-provided full text access!

google scholar search results with full-text library links on right side of screen circled