In the first post of the new year this blog discussed the importance of ensuring that technology and strategies used in classrooms are based on research. While research doesn’t always keep up with the latest technology, it is still necessary to know what works and modify it as needed to fit your setting.
So where do you find research? While several options exist, including professional development opportunities or academic libraries you may have access to, one of the most exhaustive resources available is Google Scholar. In this post I will share what Google Scholar is and some tips to help with its navigation.
What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is basically the Google Search of the academic world. It provides a one stop shop where you can search for articles, books, patins, court opinions and more related to a wide variety of topics. While the full text of many articles are only available through Universities, you can still view an abstract of the article, citation, and link to where the full text is available if you are interested in purchasing.
While you can simply visit scholar.google.com and search for any topic that interests you, there are a few advanced options that can take your search to the next level. I’ve included several examples below using a search conducted on “Text to Speech Software.”
Google Scholar is constantly updating. If you wish to be informed of any new scholarly information related to your topic you can set an alert. To set an alert simply click the “create alert” link on the left of the page after conducting your search (see image below). You will then be asked to enter your email and how many results per email you wish to see.
Note: When first conducting a search you can choose to exclude patins. I usually do this (unless I am looking for patins). Your alert will retain these settings and exclude (or include) patins in the email.
Searching by Date
In education, research conducted 30 years ago may still be relevant today. However, if you are looking for research specific to technology you may want to only review articles published over the last few years. Google Scholar allows you to customize the date of articles that are shown. Similar to creating an alert, you can choose the period of time on the left of the page after you enter a search for your topic (see image below).
The more specific your search is, the more likely you are to be provided with relevant information. To add more parameters to your search click the small down arrow in the Google Scholar search bar (see Image 1 below). Then enter any additional information and click the search icon (see image 2 below).
Creating your own Library
Google allows you to create your own library to help keep track of articles you find useful. To save an article, simply click the “save” link under the article you want to save. You can view articles any time by clicking the “My Library” link at the top of the Google Scholar homepage.
Quickly Accessing Citations
Once you have found an article you plan to reference it is super easy to grab a citation. Simply click the “cite” link under the article listing and a citation will occur. You can even choose the formatting (MLA, APA, or Chicago)
Checking References for Additional Information
One of the best ways to find additional information on a topic is to start with one relevant article that you find useful, then search for “related articles,” or other articles that have cited that article as a reference by clicking “cited by.”
Are you a Google Scholar user? If so, what other tips do you recommend? Please let us know in the comments section below.