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Google Scholar

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Google Scholar is a specialized Google search which allows you to narrow to scholarly literature, including articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions. Some of these sources are available freely on the internet, while others are available through library databases and interlibrary loan.  There are benefits and drawbacks to using Google Scholar.  


  • Ease and effectiveness of searching
  • Looks and functions like a normal Google search
  • Broad index coverage of sources and full text accessibility
  • Features like citation analysis tools and researcher profiles


  • Proprietary ranking system
  • No traditional tech support
  • Bibliographic/citation information is often incorrect
  • Lack of advanced search features
  • Weak in results for locally developed collections, grey literature, and systematic reviews
  • Strong English language bias

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This guide was originally created by a PALNI Task Force and Ruth Szpunar.