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Library Guides

Google Scholar: Searching

Basic search

To get started, just type in one or more keywords to get a list of journal articles and books that match your search. You can also use the advanced search features to make your search more specific.


Will I be able to read everything I find?

No. Your results will includes things you can read online, including e-books and e-journals available from the University's subscribed resources, as well as free books and journals. However, they will also include things you can't read online unless you pay for them, as well as references to printed books and journals which are not available online.


How do I know which full text I can read online?

First, sign into Google Scholar as a University of Westminster user:

  • If you are on-campus you're automatically signed in
  • If you are off-campus, you will need to set up the library link

Once you're signed in and have done a search:

  • Look for FindOnline@Westminster to the right of each result
  • Click this and it will take you to the full text you may need to sign in using your Westminster IT account

If you don't see a FindOnline@Westminster link, don't give up!

  • Try the link to the article – it may be available for free
  • Try the link to "all versions"  one of them may be a FindOnline@Westminster link, or open access
  • Click the "more" >> icon beneath the result then click FindIT@Westminster  sometimes Google Scholar doesn't pick up a link from our catalogue
  • Use the Open Access button and Unpaywall extension to try to find an open access version

For more information on open access resources, see the Open Access Resources Guide.


How can I find copies of books and journals that I can't read online?

If you can't read it online for free there are other options:


Can I save my search results?

Yes, you can save a result by clicking on the star icon beneath it. You can access your saved results by clicking on "My library". You can also save references to your referencing software.

Advanced search

Access advanced search by clicking on the menu icon. Advanced searching is limited in Google Scholar but you will be able to:

  • search for exact phrases
  • search for at least one of the search terms
  • search excluding terms
  • search in article titles only
  • search by author, journal title and date

Search tips

  • Use OR to search for either of two terms  and make sure it is capitalized 
  • Use a minus sign to exclude terms from your search, e.g. jaguar -car
  • Specify the filetype you are looking for, e.g. geology cornwall filetype:pdf
  • Use double quotation marks to search for an exact phrase, e.g. "climate change"
  • Use an asterisk to substitute for one or more words, e.g. "science technology and * "

More tips available on the official Google Scholar search tips page.