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Research Guides

CHM499: Introduction to Chemistry Research

The resources in this guide will help you through the CHM499 research process from start to finish.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including books, articles, abstracts, and theses, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites.

It is a useful search tool with many advantages! It's free for everyone to access, and easy to use.

Google Scholar is great for...

  • Getting started on a search.
  • Finding a few relevant articles on a topic.
  • Brainstorming additional keywords and synonyms to include in a more in-depth search.
  • Getting a general idea of how much research has been one on a topic.
  • Finding a known article, or identifying an article from incomplete citation information.

Disadvantages of Google Scholar

There are also some risks and challenges with using Google Scholar. These include

  • Bias: Like with regular Google, Google Scholar has algorithms that collect data about you, including your search history, geographical location, and more. Based on your data, Google Scholar will push certain items to the top of your results, which increases the risk of bias.
  • Quality: Google Scholar is less curated than subscription databases like Web of Science and SciFinder-n, and does not share their criteria for what is "scholarly." You more likely to find low-quality sources, including articles that are not peer-reviewed or published by deceptive journals.
  • Limited functionality: While Google Scholar has some advanced search features and allows the use of AND/OR, it cannot sort results by number of citations or limit results by author, subject, or whether they are peer-reviewed.

For these reasons, Google Scholar should not be the only database you use when you need a comprehensive understanding of the literature on a topic.