Social Work *: Using Google Scholar

Randall Information Center | USC School of Social Work

Setting up your Google Scholar Preferences

Set your Google Scholar preferences to access journals and databases USC subscribes to via the Find It @ USC links.

Video with step by step instructions:

To set your preferences:

1. Go to

2. Go to the upper-right hand side of the page and click on thelink. 

  • This will take you to a page titled Scholar Settings.

3. Click the link titled Library Links on the left-hand side of the page.

4. Type in University of Southern California or USC then click Find Library.

5. Select University of Southern California - Find It @ USC.

6. Select Save.

Using the Find It @ USC Links - Common Issues

connects you to USC's subscriptions to journals and databases. Click on the link to get the full-text article or information on how to get the full-text.

1. The link took me to a USC page with the article's citation, with this message - Content is available via the following links.

  • Click on the link titled Article or Journal.
  • You'll have to do a few more steps to find the article you want.
  • Video with the steps to find the article from this page -

2. The link brought me to another page (may look like the journal's site) with the article's citation and a bunch of links on it.

3. The link brough me to a page with the message The article is not available on the Web through USC

  • After you scream nooo, don't worry! You can still get the article!
  • You can request the article through our interlibrary loan department.
  • Video on how to request materials from the Find It @ USC page:
  • More information about interlibrary loan/document delivery:

No Find it @ USC link or any other link - what to do?

Click on the Check USC Libraries link to check if USC Libraries has access to the article via another database or if it's only available in print. And you can request the article directly from the document delivery department from this page.

Google Scholar Search Tips

Use only the important words rather than a full sentence or question.

  • Not ideal:  what is best intervention for adolescents with an eating disorder 
  • Better:  intervention adolescent eating disorder 
  • All the words  you include in your search will be used to find matching content. 
    • Too many words will limit your results.

Use quotes to search for an exact word or set of words in a specific order.

  • Example: "psychosocial theory" or "dialectical behavioral therapy" or "same-sex marriage"
  • Tip: Only use this if you're looking for a very precise word or phrase, because otherwise you could be excluding helpful results by mistake.
Google adds the word AND between each search term.
  • You type in: eating disorder intervention --> Google looks for: eating AND disorder AND intervention
  • Exception: when using quotation marks in exact phrase searching

Searches are not case sensitive. 

  • Search terms can be inputted in lower or upper case - therapy, Therapy, THERAPY.
  • Exception: Boolean operator OR
    • Typing in teenage OR adolescent pregnancy will bring up items that use the teenage or adolescent to describe the population.
    • Here's an example (video):

Find synonyms for the other important words.

  • intervention - prevention, treatment, assessment
  • teenager - adolescent, young adult, adolescent girls, adolescent boys

Limiting publishing dates of articles

Google Scholar allows you to limit your results to the latest articles. Type in a custom date range on the left side of the results page and this will only bring up the articles published within those years.

Find more articles on your topic

The Cited by link provides a list of other items that used the article in their reference list.

The Related articles link will list items similar to the article you are viewing.