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Public Health - Undergraduate Program

Resources for students in the undergraduate public health program.

What Is Google Scholar?

Like Google or Bing or DuckDuckGo, Google Scholar is a search engine. One potential problem with any search engine is that you don't control the search and you don't know what it's searching. This means that you also don't know what it might be missing.

Article databases, on the other hand, have specific sets of journals and other resources that you can check: the evidence base is defined and knowable. Because no database of search engine will find everything, we recommend that you search more than one resource for research projects.

But Google Scholar can be very helpful in some circumstances:

  • When you need to find reports and conference abstracts, which aren't often included in article databases
  • When you can't find information in PubMed, because you can't find the best search terms to use, you might be able to find a relevant article in Google Scholar. You can then look up that article in PubMed, see how it's indexed (what MeSH terms have been applied) and read the abstract for other search terms.
  • When you're looking for just ahndful of articles for a very short paper or poster that isn't a research project.

Search Tips for Google Scholar

  • You can use the same techniques in Google Shcolar as you do in article databases.
  • You can also construct a simple search, as Google Scholar searches variattions of terms automatically.
  • Always apply a date filter (found on the left), so that you don't see the most popular articles over time (the default setting in Google Scholar & any other search engine). An article may be linked to the most because it's old or because it's a bad article that lots of people link to because it is so bad.
  • Use the Google Scholar @ UM link on any library web page so that your results are linked to the library's subscriptions. Lokk for the MGet It button on the right of each result.