May 18, 2022

Research Summary: Graduate Students Report Strong Acceptance and Loyal Usage of Google Scholar

The following evidence summary appears in the latest issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice.

The summary discusses: “Google Scholar acceptance and use among graduate students: A quantitative study.”  Library and Information Science Research, 33(4), 293-301. The article was written by Tanya Cothran.


Graduate Students Report Strong Acceptance and Loyal Usage of Google Scholar

Review Author

Lisa Shen
Sam Houston State University


Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (Vol. 7, No. 4)


Objective – To determine the frequency of graduate students’ Google Scholar usage, and the contributing factors to their adoption. The researchers also aimed to examine whether the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is applicable to graduate students’ acceptance of Google Scholar.

Design – Web-based survey questionnaire.

Setting – The survey was conducted over the internet through email invitations.

Subjects – 1,114 graduate students enrolled at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

Methods – 9,998 graduate students were invited via email to participate in a study about their perceptions of Google Scholar in the fall of 2009. A follow-up email and a raffle of two $25 gift certificates were used to provide participation incentive.

The survey measurements, which consisted of 53 items in 15 questions, were based on modifications to the validated TAM using measurements adopted by other studies using the same instrument. Each item was scored using five-point scales ranging from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 5 (“strongly agree”). Because the TAM model is based on direct user experience, only responses from those who have used Google Scholar in the past were included in the data analysis.

Main Results – The survey had a response rate of 11.4%, with 73% of the respondents reporting having used Google Scholar at least once before. However, only 45% of those who had used Google Scholar reported linking to full text articles through the customized library link “frequently or always.” On average, respondents found Google Scholar easy to use (M=4.09 out of 5) and access (M=3.86). They also perceived Google Scholar as a useful resource for their research (M=3.98), which enhanced their searching effectiveness (M=3.89).

[infoDOCKET emphasis] However, respondents were less enthusiastic when asked whether they often found what they were looking for using Google Scholar (M=3.33) or whether it had enough resources for their research (M=3.14).

Nonetheless, most still felt they made the correct decision to use Google Scholar (M=3.94), even if their loyalty towards Google Scholar was limited (M=3.23).

Direct to Full Text Evidence Summary ||| PDF Version

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.