Google Scholar search
Why do students prefer to use the Google Scholar search tool? Source: Tobias Schwarz/AFP

Imagine you’ve been set a university assignment that you need to find specific scholarly articles, reports, online books and other materials for. 

But ou don’t have much time to complete it and you don’t want to waste your time scrolling through web page after webpage. 

Introducing your next best friend: the Google Scholar search engine.

Otherwise known as the academic version of Google, the Google Scholar search engine saves the day by searching repositories of publishers, universities or scholarly websites rather than carrying out a generic web search. 

For instance, if your assignment is about “sustainable tourism,” all you’d have to do is type that keyword into the search engine box and then many scholarly materials connected to sustainable tourism would appear.

But why else should you use Google Scholar search?

You can create a virtual library

Google Scholar search

You don’t need to use the generic web search. Try Google Scholar search instead. Source: Diptendu Dutta/AFP

There’s nothing worse than forgetting to bookmark a link while researching for your assignment online

To prevent this from happening, the Google Scholar search lets you save your search results under the “My Library” feature. 

You just click the star below the article and it will automatically save in your virtual Google Scholar library — it’s as simple as that!

Google Scholar also categorises your library by date. 

So if you’re searching for a saved book or article that was published between a certain time period, you can quickly sort your materials by date instead of scrolling through each resource.

You receive instant research results

Google Scholar search 3

Google Scholar search connects you to thousands of scholarly resources from different periods of time. Source: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades /AFP

Another advantage of the Google Scholar search engine is that you’re linked to a range of scholarly resources in an instant.

Because of its easy-to-use features, you won’t waste time trying to familiarise yourself with its system.

For instance, if you type the last name of an author that you’d like to find out more and a key term related to their work, your desired results should show up in seconds.

And if you need to skim the abstract of articles, Google Scholar is ideal as they display brief snippets of what the resource contains underneath its title — which saves you a lot of time!

You can also see how many other users have cited it online, which may prove useful if you’re searching for unique scholarly texts that no one else has resourced before.

It’s free and familiar

Google Scholar search 2

Google is a worldwide resource of knowledge and its Scholar search can help with your assignments. Source: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP

If you’re already a Google search engine user, then the use of Google Scholar search should come naturally.

While you’re at university, you may already be using other Google functions such as Google Docs or Google Slides.

So the transition over to Google Scholar should be quick and familiar.

Another perk of this academic search engine is that it’s free!

There are no paid subscriptions or exclusive membership packages that you need to pay for which is perfect when you’re living on a student budget.

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