What's the difference between Google Scholar and an academic database Academic Search Complete or CINAHL?
Academic databases are searchable collections of published sources that let you know exactly what journals and books they are pulling their content from. Additionally, academic databases frequently have a subject specific focus and have many options for limiting search results.
Google Scholar is also a searchable collection of published sources, but because Google keeps their proprietary information private, they do not share where they are pulling their content from. We don't know exactly where the citations are coming from, what will be included, or what might be missing. Additionally, Google Scholar covers all disciplines and only has a few advanced search options.
Google Scholar can...
Google Scholar cannot...
Keep in Mind:
Google Scholar searches specifically for scholarly materials such as journal articles, research reports, dissertations and theses, 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:
Above, you'll notice that you will have to navigate to the three horizontal lines on the left side of the screen to access Google Scholar's advanced search features. By clicking on the "advanced search" link, a box will pop up with many options that will allow you to refine your search. This advanced search will allow you to sort by specific phrases, as well as authors and date ranges.
Once you are looking at a single result, there are a few options for the item. Some of these include: