Google Scholar is a nice way to search journals and access the most academic forms of research by experts in a particular field.
Journals are collections of academic writing, which are very important to students wishing to complete an Extended Essay. They cover very specific concepts, case studies or analyse issues and dissect the knowledge very deeply with rich data. For these reasons, journal articles are better quality sources of information for your Extended Essay compared to other sources such as a website, blog or online source. However, the language and complexity of terminology is often too hard for a high schools student to comprehend. Notwithstanding, Google Scholar opens up a wealth of information and will support your research if used carefully.
What is a journal article?
Journal articles are peer reviewed pieces of research. This means that a group of other academic scholars including university professors will read and verify the piece of research and then potentially recommend it for publishing in thier journal. The most respected journals such as the American Economic Review have published academic writing since the early 1900’s. Having your work published in this journal is a reflection of the quality of the research and also the originality of your ideas, and is held in high esteem by other experts.
How does Google Scholar work?
Google Scholar allows you to search existing databases of journals. Most of the time, the results from the search will provide you an extract of the paper and not the full text version or PDF. However you can search for the same paper in your school databases and you will usually find a full copy, or from your local university or library. Some of this research is not freely available and is only available to fee paying subscribers.
The search results within Google Scholar are ranked in two interconnecting ways.
- Firstly, they are ranked according to if they show the keywords included in your search string.
- Secondly, they are ranked according to the number of times a paper has been cited in other papers. If a paper is cited in lots of other papers, it is therefore obviously of higher quality or more credible than other less cited papers. When a writer cites another paper, it is to make reference to the author of the original idea.
Google Scholar Advanced search allows you to get very precise results from specific authors, or from from different time periods. If you are using Zotero to collate your references, you can click on the Zotero icon in your internet browser and then select the articles of interest.
See here for Google’s Advanced Scholar Search Tips