Google Scholar

google scholar s s

Image created by Author. (2016) CC by 2.0

Google Scholar is a totally new database for me. I was first introduced to this search option by Lupton (2016) who described it as “a database of scholarly information such as journal articles, books and conference papers. It is a citation database, that means ………… it is very handy to track the evolution of ideas and it allows you to browse other relevant sources.” From my previous search in Google there were some results that identified Google Scholar as a place to find the information I required. I also noticed that this database allowed me to search for more specific authors or ideas, and I could see clearly how these ideas had evolved. So in light of this information for more “scholarly” articles that might relate more efficiently to the information I was seeking about inquiry in education, my Google Scholar journey began.

I remembered that Google Scholar had some setting options that I could put in place before commencing searches to allow me to use select libraries for articles. See below:


I decided that I wanted to use the same key words from my original question (How should a library be involved with all classes in their inquiries?)  that I used in Google to see if completing a direct search in Google Scholar would provide me with more key articles in my journey to find out information. I have also added more to the main keyword  inquiry as a result of my further questions from the Google search.


Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 3.13.43 pmScreen Shot 2016-08-27 at 2.10.46 pmScreen Shot 2016-08-27 at 4.19.32 pm

After my first official search I discovered some of the elements about Google Scholar that can be useful to any user using this search engine. These helped me throughout my searching to narrow down quality information as I continued on.

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 2.41.07 pm

Screenshot and Annotations by Author.



Search String Results My Thoughts/Comments

inquiry learning



About 2,050,000 results (0.03 sec)


A very large amount of results. This is obviously because there are no operators in play such as synonyms, quotation marks or Boolean Operators. There are relevant articles provided about inquiry learning. The words science and technology are often included in the articles. I need to use some other focus search words to narrow my search to relevant information for me.

“inquiry learning” AND elementary AND library


About 5,050 results (0.10 sec)


 Quotation marks are added to link these two words. Also added in the Boolean operator AND. Results are substantially less. Key names like Kuhlthau appear heading articles, or as a part of citations. Still a few focused on science.



(“inquiry learning” OR “guided learning”) AND (elementary OR primary) AND library


About 11,500 results (0.13 sec)


Results went higher. This is because there were synonyms added to the search terms which enable a larger range of articles to be found. I also had the OR Boolean Operator in play to broaden the search. Many interesting ones to explore.
(“inquiry learning” OR “guided learning”) AND (elementary OR primary) AND library About 3,610 results (0.12 sec)



Same search string however I used Google Scholar’s “Custom Range” for dates in the tool bar. See screenshot below.  I did this as I am really wanting to know about current practice and current views.  There are many relevant articles to my inquiry and thinking at the moment. Key names like Kuhlthau and Lupton appearing. A range of subject areas mentioned and explored, not just science. Also notice that there are articles linked to the database Proquest.


Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 2.23.07 pm

So now I wanted to add in the keyword curiosity. My wonderings of this come as a result of many questioning as to whether curiosity is lost throughout the schooling process and whether inquiry learning is a way of keeping this curiosity alive. Also, as this keyword appeared in one of my Google strings I wanted to see what Google Scholar would provide.

Search String Results My Thoughts/Comments
(“inquiry learning” OR “guided learning”) AND library AND curiosity


About 1,310 results (0.07 sec)


Along with adding in the term curiosity I maintained the “custom range for date”. Articles, studies and questions. Standards and state testing also mentioned in some articles.  Key names like  Kuhlthau have articles. Really enjoyed this search string. Had a lot that I could use for my thinking.  Kuhlthau, CC (2013) “Inquiry inspires original research” was an article that I particularly thought interesting to my search.


So I enjoyed exploring this database. I found it more directed in the results produced. The Boolean Operators really helped refine the search to get articles that were about the topics I was interested in. I also like how I could refine by year dates. More relevant articles seem to be found. If I compare to Google, I think searches were able to locate me more applicable  information to my topic.

Advantages: relevant scholarly articles; able to refine the dates of articles; able to create a library of articles; able to set a library link; able to see related articles; able to follow citations of credible authors.

Disadvantages: access may only be the first page of an article; can get a little lost in following streams when unfamiliar; need to be very definitive in search term.

My New Questions:

  1. Is the librarian’s role to be helping students only in the “research” of inquiry topics they are exploring?
  2. Is there a place for more curiosity in the “standard based” curriculum? How can we as teachers do this effectively?



Lupton, M. (2016). LCN 616 Module 1 Study Guide

Kuhlthau,C,C. (2013) “Inquiry inspires original research”




One thought on “Google Scholar

  1. Hi Bernadette,

    What an exciting journey you are on, living and working in China – and doing your Masters too! I enjoyed your post and like the clean layout. It was easy to follow your journey through Google Scholar as you moved to more complex search strings, adding more Boolean operators as you went. Reading your post was like having a conversation with you about the process. It is interesting the difference those operators make. As you provided examples of growing complexity it became clear to me the advantage in having knowledge of expert search strategies from the outset, it would certainly save on time. I agree with you on the point you mentioned in your disadvantages, that you can get a little lost following streams when you are unfamiliar with the search engine. That has definitely happened to me! The article you mentioned in your last search, ‘Inquiry Inspires Original Research’, piqued my interest, I didn’t come across it in any of my searches. I will seek it out. Your question posed around a librarian’s role beyond ‘research’ was one I am also curious about, so it will be interesting to see what you find. Perhaps you could have removed the AND operator from your strings since Google already recognises the space as AND, or tried some truncation such as ‘-science’ to remove science related articles from your search. Maybe some additional screenshots would have been helpful also as a visual support to your searches. Thank you for a great post, I look forward to reading more.


    Liked by 1 person

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