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This is a GradHacker post by Andrea Zellner, PhD candidate in Ed Tech/Ed Pysch at Michigan State University, @andreazellner

Right now I am in the midst of being a teaching assistant for the Proseminar course in our doctoral program. As part of my duties, I was asked to show my favorite research finding tricks. Naturally, I crowdsourced my suggestions and through this process I found that not many people were familiar with some of my favorite Google Scholar hacks. What else to do but write it up for Gradhacker? So here we go: my top 3 things you probably didn't know about Google Scholar

1. Google Scholar will tell you if your library has access to the article you want. Many people have complained to me that they love searching in Google Scholar over doing traditional library database searches, but hate the hassle of then logging into their University library site to see if they have access. Google Scholar allows you to add a Library Preference and will then highlight which articles your designated library has access to. This feature can be added by:

  • Log in to Google
  • Navigate to Google Scholar
  • Click on  "Scholar Preferences"
  • Choose "Library Links" and search for your library and choose "Find Library" (Troubleshooting note: you may also have to be logged in to your library proxy to make this work, but there is help text on the Library Links page).

2. Google Docs now integrates a "Research Feature." The day this rolled out was better than puppies and rainbows for a dedicated Google Docs user like myself. With this feature, Google Docs allows a you to choose the Research Tool and search for a term or author on the open web. If you'd like to restrict that search to Google Scholar only, there is a drop down menu next to the search bar that allows you to restrict the search in various ways. If you select a particular article from the search results, GOOGLE WILL DO THE CITATIONS FOR YOU. I can barely contain my joy. They allow the user to choose from three citation styles: APA, Chicago, and MLA.

3. Google Scholar will tell you not only how many times an article was cited, but will also generate a list of those publications.  Many people are familiar with looking at Google Scholar search results and noting the number of times a particular publication has been cited. This can be a shorthand (and by all means not the ONLY) way of determining an article's credibility. But what many people don't realize is that citation metric is hyperlinked: click on that metric and a list of all the publications that cited the article in question will appear. This is a great trick for young researchers (like myself) to gain a quick snapshot of the field.

What are your favorite ways to find research? Tell us in the comments!




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