Today, let’s dive into some practicalities of the literature search.
You’ve probably used Google Scholar before. It’s a really practical, free tool, that allows you to find references for academic papers – and sometimes their full-text too.
But Google Scholar is more powerful that it seems at a glance, and it has many hidden options that make it very useful.
Let’s have a look at three of them.
Link Google Scholar to your library
Your university library pays a lot of money to give you access to hundreds of journals.
Once you’ve found a reference, you often need to go through the library’s resources to check if you’ve got a way to get free access to it (here is an article that will help you find the full-text for free).
But there’s a way to skip this step and get Google Scholar to use your library’s resources to give you automatically the direct link to the full-text of any of the references you find.
To do it, you need to go in Google Scholar’s settings.
Then, in the “Library links” tab, type in the name of your university library.
You can choose up to 5 libraries.
If your library is not listed, let your librarian know. They should be able to add the library to Google Scholar quickly and easily.
Get more search options
Once you’ve done a first search, click the little drop down arrow at the right of Google Scholar’s search box.
This will give you more options for your search.
For more help on how to use those options, see my series about the literature search.
Cite your references easily
When you’ve done a search and are scrolling through the results, click “Cite” under one of the references.
A pop-up will appear, proposing several options.
You can copy paste one of the citations that appears.
Or you can click one of the buttons at the bottom to export the reference automatically to your reference management software!
A word of caution though: always check the references you’ve imported that way to make sure that there is no mistake in the information concerning the reference.
Do you use Google Scholar often? Do you have other tips you would like to share? Tell us in the comments!