Conducting Online Research

March 23, 2007 at 12:46 pm 3 comments

A big part of any graduate OT program is conducting research on any one of many topics. Whether it is for a research proposal, class assignments, or for a research class, everyone has to do some form of research. I have recently found a new way of doing research, which has helped me find relevant full text articles quickly and efficiently. While Ebsco does allow me to do this, I have found that it isn’t the best search engine because you have to choose multiple databases to find your search query. Even then, it is often times confusing which journal is found in which database. Therefore, I’ve started turning to Google Scholar.

Google Scholar is one of Google’s many search engines, and it allows you to search in peer-reviewed journal for just about anything. However, in most cases it does not allow me to access the full text articles. That is where my school library comes into play. My school has a list of each and every journal that they own, in addition to the ones that they have access to online. So after finding the article on Google Scholar, I make a note of the exact citation, log in to my school library, and I can quickly find the article. I’ve found that this cuts down the time it takes to carry out research almost in half.

Another great feature of Google Scholar is that in the preferences, you can set your own university to be included in search results. In this way, you can click on the link after each search result, which tells you if it is even available at your university.

If any of this is unclear, let me know, and I’ll try to explain it further.


Entry filed under: google scholar, OT, research, school.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lanie  |  March 28, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Aishel – I work for a company that provides online databases for researchers/universities. I know Towson has access to many of them. Feel free to contact me if you want some info. about how to search our Abstract databases. WE obviously contend that we are a better source than google scholar.

  • 2. willwade  |  May 9, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    You may be interested to look at some sites that help the collection of citations, notably citeulike and bibsonomy.

    Similarly take a look at a post I did on using these tools and more (my workflow for research!) at


  • 3. Merrolee  |  May 21, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Hi Aishel

    Thanks for this great posting and for Will’s response which led me not only to google scholar which I use quite a bit but also to CiteULike which has lots of possibilities! (Thanks for the extra plug in Will)

    Iani I know that commercial companies believe they offer a better service, but this is only for enrolled students! Once students graduate their options for accessing published literature drops markedly. If they are in a hospital that subscribes to the databases – that is great… but if not, then they can search online say in PubMed (which doesn’t hold all occupational therapy journals)… but then get a message saying buy the article. In this day and age with electronic files – I find it hard to understand why publishers charge so much for an article that could be emailed to the individual – ie almost no cost!

    Also I can’t understand why old articles are not freely made available – the problem with commercial databases and articles copyrighted is that the information is only available to those who pay for the service. Those who also really need access are denied it unless they have the resources to purchase!

    Also.. more and more people are turning to Web 2.0 to store their writings/thinkings – therefore a tool such as google scholar is more efficient at finding the resources than a commercial database which is limited only to the journals that have been accepted. Sorry.. but I have to disagree with your posting Iani and would like to challenge publishing companies to really think about why they need to ‘lock up’ knowledge!


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