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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Improving Your Research Skills

This guide will help you improve your research skills through searching library databases, searching Google, and evaluating sources.

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar collects academic articles, similarly to a library database. However, unlike a library database, Google Scholar uses proprietary algorithms to decide how to share certain resources, so we aren’t sure which research might be missing. Google Scholar also has fewer advanced search options than a library database. Google Scholar can be helpful to get background information, locate a difficult citation, or see a broad overview of what kind of research is being done on a topic.

Connecting to the Library

Not all resources on Google Scholar are free. You may be able to access more free resources by connecting your Google Scholar account to the library. To do this, you must prove that you are affiliated with the University of Illinois as a student.

To connect:

  1. Go to Google Scholar, click the three lines on the top left hand side of the screen, then click “Settings.”
  2. Click “Library Links” on the left hand side of the screen, then type in University of Illinois and search.Google Scholar showing Library links and searching for a library
  3. Click the box that says “University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign-Discover Full Text.” Save.Google Scholar showing how to click box for UIUC Library
  4. Now, you can click the “Discover Full Text” links to get access through the library for free.Google Scholar search with Discover Full Text on right hand side