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Guide to Google Scholar

Navigating Results

Search results will look familiar to anyone who has used Google before.  However, as this is an academic research tool, there are some things to consider and different tools available to you.  

On the left side, there are a limited number of filters available to quickly resort results.  From there, you can:

  • Limit results to specific years.
  • Resort results by date, with the newest listed first, instead of by relevancy.
  • Omit patents or articles whose citation is available, but a way to obtain it is not available online.  


Animated GIF demonstrating the use of the date, relevancy, and other results filters in Google Scholar.

Links to Articles

By default, clicking an article's title will typically lead you to where the article was published.  When trying to find the full-text of an article, be aware of the following:

  • When Google Scholar is aware of a downloadable full-text copy, a [PDF] link will be listed to the right of the result.  
  • For open access articles, after clicking on the article's title you may also see a link to the free downloadable full text.
  • For many articles, you will hit a paywall from the publisher's website, requiring payment to read it.  NEVER PAY FOR AN ARTICLE FOR AN ASSIGNMENT.  See the sections on enabling a PG Library full-text locater and requesting items via document delivery of this guide for information on your options.  

Tip: Search by Filetype

You can limit your results to items Google Scholar can find a PDF copy of by adding filetype:pdf to the end of your search.  This may filter out some full text, including some items available via the PG Library, but is a quick way to narrow down your results to those immediately available in a pinch. 

Animated GIF demonstrating a search by filetype in Google Scholar.

Citing & Saving Results

Underneath the abstract or excerpt for each article, you'll see a single line with a list of options.  The two left-most are likely the most useful to the majority of users:

  • Clicking the "star" adds the citation to your My Library list.  If you log in with a Google account (either your PG student Gmail or personal account), you can come back to your My Library list at any time for the citation. 
  • Clicking the quotation mark ( " symbol) opens a pop-up window, listing the articles following several different citation formats, including APA.  Remember, these types of automated citations, just like the ones in EBSCO, ProQuest, and other databases in the PG Library are just starting points.  You'll likely need to tweak them to make them follow APA rules 100% accurately.  

Animated GIF demonstrating the citation saving and quoting features in Google Scholar.