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FAS 587/SOC 587: Capstone: Google Scholar

This guide can be used for all three Capstone courses (586, 587, 588) in both FAS and SOC.

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is not the same as Google. Google Scholar searches the web only for scholarly materials.

It is Interdisciplinary, but it is not comprehensive. Consider using Google Scholar along with another database such as PsycInfo.

Google Scholar is most useful for finding journal articles, but will also yield books, book chapters, dissertations, technical reports, etc.

There are some things to keep in mind when using Google Scholar. There is no way to limit by format, e.g. you can't search just for journal articles. There are no abstracts. There is no way to tell if a journal article is peer-reviewed. Results will be shown in relevancy order, not chronological order.

Always use Google Scholar through the ASU Library so that it will be linked to the journals that you have access to through the Libraries. This will prevent you from running into paywalls or dead ends. You can always find a link to Google Scholar from this guide or from the library home page. There's also a Google Scholar basic search box on the first page of this guide.

Basic Search Techniques

  • There is an easy to use single search box where you can put in a combination of keywords; a space implies AND.  Example: attitudes marijuana. This searches for articles that include both of those words.
  • Put exact phrases in quotation marks: “medical marijuana”
  • Use OR to link words or phrases that mean the same thing. For example to find articles about the death penalty the best search would be: "death penalty" OR "capital punishment"
  • Google Scholar will automatically add additional word endings for you. So a search for student will also yield students; emotion will get emotions, emotional, etc. You may be familiar with using an asterisk * in library databases to get different word endings; that will not work in Google Scholar.

Advanced Search

You will often get better results by using Advanced Search. You can get to this by doing a basic search and then using the liittle pull down arrow that will appear on the right side of the basic search box.

This will open up a box that looks like this and that will give you some different options to construct your search.

In this example we're looking for articles that talk about whether or not a person's religious beliefs or affiliation affects their attitude toward the death penalty. We want all of the articles to include the word religious and the word attitudes and one of the phrases "death penalty" or "capital punishment".

There are lots of different ways that you can combine words and concepts using Advanced Search, so you will need to put some thought into exactly what it is you're trying to find. You might end up doing your search several different ways. As you can see there are some other search options available to you as well. You might want to limit your search to a certain range of years or to citations from a particular journal. And while it's certainly more comprehensive to search for your words "anywhere in the article", searching for keywords "in the title of the article" is a way to find a couple of relevant citations very quickly.

Finding the Articles

Now that you're looking at your pages of results you will want to get to the full article. To do that you can either click on the title of the article or use the html or pdf links provided to the right of the citation. If no direct link is given, there should be a “get it @ ASU” link that will also work. Always a good idea to check all the possibilities if one of them isn't working for you!

NOTE: If there is no link given at all, there is still a chance we might have it. Click on the link that says “more”. That will open up a “get it @ ASU” link. (There's probably a reason that this happens, but let's not worry about that!)  Even if it turns out that we really don't have it, the "get it @ ASU" link will open up the ILLIAD form which will allow you to request it. This is a free service, and the articles are usually delivered to your email in less than a day.

Word of caution: links to books and book chapters don’t link to our catalog very well. For those it will probably be better if you just search the title in our catalog.

More Options to Consider

Limit by Date: When you're looking at a page of results, you can limit those results by putting in a date range on the left. Remember, Google Scholar will never show results chronologically. Word of warning: don’t click on “sort by date”; that throws relevancy out the window and usually will give lots of irrelevant hits. Just put in the range of dates you want to search: 2002 – 2017 for example, or use one of the preselected options.

Cited By: to get articles that have cited this article in their reference list (great way to find other relevant articles)

Related Articles: to find other articles Google Scholar thinks might also be relevant. The algorithm used is super-secret, but it works!

Cite: create a DRAFT of a citation in many particular styles, but BEWARE: the APA Style citation they give you is always wrong, because it doesn’t contain the doi. The indentation is also wrong. So proceed with caution, but it does provide a good starting point.

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