Frequently Asked Questions
How do I access the full text of an article in Google Scholar?
Answer:University students, faculty, and staff can use the Libraries' FindIt to access full text for articles they find in Google Scholar. The link, "FindIt@ U of M Twin Cities", will appear automatically in results for users that:
- Enter Google Scholar from the Libraries web site. For example, on the "Articles and Datbases" tab type your search and select "Google Scholar" from the databases drop-down. Or click "G" and scroll down to Google Scholar.
- Set your Scholar Preferences. Click "Scholar Preferences" in the upper right (click the gear). Type "University of Minnesota" in the "Library Links" box and click "Find Library." Select "University of Minnesota - FindIt@U of M Twin Cities." Click "Save Preferences." Learn more
Tip: The Findit does not work if the item is a book--instead search the Books tab to see if we own it.
What is Google Scholar?Just like Google, Google Scholar uses web-crawling robots to collect results including journal articles, citations, theses, pre-prints and more. Materials come from academic publishers, professional societies, pre-print repositories, Universities, legal opinions, patents and more. Google Scholar is a useful as a tool for research, especially for interdisciplinary topics. However, we also recommend using databases provided by the University of Minnesota Libraries as you will find high-quality, scholarly materials that aren't available through Google Scholar.
Are all the results free and online? What if the Libraries don't have the full text of an article?No. Some are but often the results link to a publisher's website that asks you for payment to access an article. Don't pay for articles. Instead, you can set up Google Scholar to connect to FindIt (see above). If we do not own it, you can use Interlibrary Loan to request the full text.
How are the results ranked?Google Scholar ranks sources according to relevance. The relevance ranking takes into account the source's title, author, the publication in which the source appeared and how often it has been cited in scholarly literature.
Is everything in Google Scholar considered "scholarly"?No. Google Scholar uses a built in algorithm that makes a calculated guess at what it thinks is a scholarly source. You will need to look at the source and decide if it is scholarly. Talk to a librarian or your instructor if you are unsure. Google Scholar currently lacks the ability to easily focus your search with features that are specifically designed for a given discipline. Comprehensive subject databases are often a better choice when you need both high-quality academic sources and sophisticated search techniques.