The whole purpose of a research paper is to explain the results found in different studies. In order to help people have easy accessibility for finding different studies, google created a website called google scholar. On the surface, google scholar seems like it would be extremely helpful for students especially when dealing with a research paper. There are millions of studies that already have the work cited written out, results stated clearly, and links to hundreds of other related sources in order to help the student find whatever they are looking for. However, google scholar fails to truly succeed in achieving the overall goal of helping demonstrate research.
While trying to find the first couple of sources for this research paper, I came to attention. I quickly had to change my topic fast. I was originally going to write about how the Phillies would weaken their defense prior to the 2022 MLB season which ultimately strengthened their overall team. This was due to the added players like Kyle Schwarber who is historically terrible on defense, but he was a key addition to the offensive production. When I typed in “Phillies” into google scholar just to see what would pop up, I was shown an article talking about chemistry as the first search. This is because the article was written by Kiril Streletzky and George D. J. Phillies. If you go past that singular article, you are left with hundreds all written by George D. J. Phillies. There may be students ecstatic over finding his chemist work, but personally I was limited in what I could research. If I was limited in what I could research, imagine how many other kids also had the same issues that I had. Unfortunately, I had a topic I would have been extremely passionate about, but I was forced to switch topics due to google scholar limiting coverage.
Regardless of the limited content, the language barrier on google scholar is often overlooked. While using Google, in order to switch between different languages one just has to change one setting. This then changes every word to whatever language one changed it to. Since Google Scholar is a specialized search engine from Google, it is thought to work relatively the same way. When changing the language in Google Scholar, the settings are changed to that language, but none of the articles are changed. If they are able to change the contents of Google’s articles, it is shocking that Google Scholar does not translate the articles. Of the few articles already on Google Scholar, the language barrier drastically lowers that number. A search engine made strictly for research is limiting how much research one may do strictly based on the language they speak.
Additionally to the language barrier, the accessibility of each article can limit the amount one’s ability to research. The few times that there is an article that one can use, it is often shut down behind the paywall that blocks researchers from the work. Most schools like Rowan do allow their students to access these websites for no additional cost, but that does not include all of them. While testing out google scholar, the first article of “solar system” was written in 1966. It is blocked by a pay wall of $35.95 for 48 hour access for thirteen pages. With an extremely large amount of information learned about the solar system in the past couple of decades, the information in that article most likely has no revelation or truth anymore. For this essay alone with upwards of ten sources, it could cost over $400. With most of the articles not even being used, a researcher without a university will have to break the bank just to support their claim.
One of the key features of Google Scholar is that it presents you the citation for the article, and the articles show the researcher their works cited page. On paper this sounds amazing, but there is a huge flaw. According to Penn State University, they made an article talking about the pros and cons of using Google Scholar, “No wonder that authors, journals and the numerical-chronological designations (publication year, volume, issue and starting page numbers) are mis-identified for millions of documents. As a consequence, the citation-matching algorithm of GS is equally unreliable, often yielding excessive and obviously absurd numbers of false positives and false negatives.” Although one may cite a website, by citing it incorrectly, it is still considered plagiarism. Many researchers most likely used those citations listed by Google Scholar without even realizing they are plagiarizing. Also according to the Penn State article on the pros and cons of Google Scholar, they followed the number of citations written for one of their other articles. It was reported that the article was cited a total of 57 times. When entering the article, Google Scholar says that that number is actually 55 times cited, but they can only show 53 times. With every number being different, it shows how Google Scholar gives a rough estimate number. The Google Scholar algorithm used to find these numbers are obviously flawed. If the algorithm cannot correctly get the number of citations, the algorithm most likely messes up the other numbers used in the citations.
Although Google Scholar in theory is a great idea to help researchers, it is extremely counterintuitive to the extreme flaws it has. The limited number of articles affects the variety that one can research and how in depth they want to get. That number can exponentially decrease when implementing the language barrier which Google does not have. If the language barrier does not affect a researcher, they may be limited by the pay wall that blocks a majority of the websites on Google Scholar. Since most schools do pay for a generous amount of websites, the small chance that one can find a website they could use, the citation listed by Google Scholar could be wrong. By dealing with all the issues with Google Scholar, they can give someone a big thank you by causing a researcher to plagiarize their entire paper.
Author links open overlay panelPeter Goldreich, et al. “Q In the Solar System.” Icarus,
Academic Press, 14 Oct. 2002,
Jasco, Peter. “Citeseerx.ist.psu.edu.” Emerald Insight, 20 June 2008,
Streletzky, Kiril, and George Phillies. “Temperature Dependence of Triton X-100 Micelle Size
and Hydration.” American Chemical Society, 1 Jan. 1995,
Regarding formatting, please incorporate the style changes I imposed on your Definition Rewrite for Title and References.
Sure, studies are useful, and Google Scholar is an ideal source for academic study searches, but studies are not the only valuable evidence for a paper. Because they take time to conduct, publish, and get themselves onto “Scholar,” academic papers are least available for “this year” analysis; least of all for “what will happen next” projections. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing of value to be found to support your THEORIES even if you don’t find up-to-the-minute data in academic papers.
I apologize if I misled you or failed to provide the guidance you needed to get past this little snag, Senpai Pio. I certainly could have helped if I’d known you were abandoning your plan so precipitously. What you say about George DJ Phillies is surely true, but it’s also true that a search for Philadelphia Phillies without quotation marks yielded almost 10,000 results, more than 6,000 for “Philadelphia Phillies.” ESPECIALLY useful to you would have been Baseball Prospectus 2023 with a long section on the Phillies’ prospects for this season AND lots of juicy data on Kyle Schwarber’s offense and defense. I don’t think you can blame Google Scholar for this one.
“does not also just translate them”? Are you serious?
I don’t know if you’re suggesting that Google should provide free access to its powerful search technology AND also pay the author of every study for their work, AND also translate that work into every language AND also make sure every person with a computer can have unlimited access to every academic paper every written, OR whether you’re suggesting that academic scholars should do their work for free and academic journals should also be edited, peer-reviewed, fact-checked, printed and published for free. But you must be suggesting one or the other.
I give you credit for ingenuity, Senpai Pio. You are working very hard at finding flaws at Google Scholar, which would probably be worth a long paper. These citation tallies are surely the least relevant to your overall thesis that—I’m trying to figure out what your overall thesis is, actually—that Google Scholar fails overall to help students do research papers. You’ve got two issues here: 1) a mistaken citation equals plagiarism; 2) Scholar can return some errant citation tallies.
1) Certainly no reasonable person would charge a student with plagiarism for a typo in a citation link.
2) Wrongly reporting how many times a study has been cited by other authors has ZERO EFFECT on the value of the underlying material.
Congratulations on committing to a topic after several false starts, Senpai Pio! You bring a lot of energy and apparent passion to the job although I can’t often tell if you’re serious or just trying out being a young curmudgeon. I don’t really find much here that persuades me a Rowan student would be harmed by incorporating English-language Google Scholar searches into their plan to complete a research paper for a Comp class. I was expecting, and I guess hoping for, a more fundamentally philosophical objection to the EFFICACY of using a research paper as a platform for teaching writing. And I’m not sure my objecting to your every claim is at all a beneficial reaction at this late stage of the semester, but it feels REALLY late to try anything radical to help. What would you like me to do for you, if anything?