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High School Student Guide to M. Louis Salmon Library

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar searches specifically for scholarly materials such as journal articles, research reports, dissertations and theses, preprints, technical reports, patents, manuscripts in preparation, working papers and many other document types.

When you do a search in Google Scholar, you get a list of citations. You'll get links to the full text if the UAH Salmon Library subscribes to the journal title, if it's from an open access journal, or if the researcher posted the article on her/his website.

We don't really know how Google Scholar indexes items, but this is how Google Scholar defines the weighting system:

Google Scholar aims to sort articles the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each article, the author, the publication in which the article appears, and how often the piece has been cited in other scholarly literature. The most relevant results will always appear on the first page. (

Remember, Google's goal is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," but researchers need to learn to critically evaluate research materials.

Please note that even the best search engines [like Google and Google Scholar] can access only about 16% of the available information on the World Wide Web. Therefore 84% of the information is excluded. That 84% has become known as the Invisible Web. Put another way, the size of the Invisible Web is 500 times larger than the Surface Web. (

For more great information about how Google Scholar works, try this link.

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar is good for...

helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.

finding "gray literature" like conference proceedings. 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.

For more advantages of using Google Scholar, please click here

Google Scholar is NOT good for...

searching by peer review

sorting/searching by disciplinary field

browsing by title

limiting search results

For more disadvantages of Google Scholar, please click here.