Skip to main content

Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science

A guide to research in health and exercise

About Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches specifically for scholarly materials such as journal articles, research reports, dissertations and theses, preprints, technical reports, patents, manuscripts in preparation, working papers, and many other document types.

When you do a search in Google Scholar, you get a list of citations. You'll get links to the full text in the following cases:

  • if the UWF Library subscribes to the journal title
  • if it's from an open access journal
  • if the researcher posted the article on her/his website

This is how Google Scholar defines the weighting system:

"Google Scholar aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature." The most relevant results will always appear on the first page. See http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html for more info.

Remember, Google's goal is to make the world of information accessible and useful. It is still up to researchers to critically evaluate research materials.

Google does not search the deep web (aka Deepnet, invisible web or hidden web). These terms refer to World Wide Web content that is not part of the surface Web indexed by search engines. This means that Google Scholar cannot find everything that might be of use to you.

Library Links

Set Google Scholar to search UWF databases and electronic resources.

  • Click Settings
  • Click Library Links
  • Type [University of West Florida] into the search box
  • Click Save

*Remember that you must be logged in form off-campus to actaully view the full text.

Google Scholar Search Tips

Using Google Scholar

When using Google Scholar, it is helpful to keep these questions in mind:

  • What features does it have to help me get relevant results?
  • What does this tool do well?
  • What does it do poorly?

As a research tool, Google Scholar is good for many tasks, and not as good for others. When deciding whether to use Google Scholar or one of the library's databases, please keep the following in mind:

Google Scholar is good for...

  • Helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
  • Finding "gray literature" like white papers. It includes many articles that wouldn't get included in other indexing services.
  • Locating obscure references that are proving difficult to find in conventional databases.
  • Accessing books and articles in a single search.
  • Locating more information on partial citations.

Google Scholar cannot...

  • Sort/search by disciplinary field
  • Browse by title
  • Limit search results
  • Search the deep web

Keep in Mind:

  • You may get a long list of results, but you will only have access to the text of articles that the Illinois Library has paid subscriptions for, or that are freely available.
  • Not everything in Google Scholar is scholarly. Google Scholar searches academic websites (.edu) as well as journals and publisher websites. Search results can include powerpoints, news annoucements or unpublished materials as well as articles and books. 
  • It is difficult to determine with 100% accuracy all that Google Scholar searches. Therefore, we do not know the breadth of what Google Scholar is indexing and consequently cannot judge the comprehensiveness or completeness of the results of a literature search.
  • We cannot tell how frequently items in Google Scholar are updated.
  • Searching in Google Scholar is imprecise when compared with discipline-specific databases.