Google Scholar is a free search tool for finding scholarly items, including books and articles. Among its many useful features are a "Cited by" tool, that shows you items that cite a given item, and a "Related items" tool, that shows you items similar to a given item.
Google Scholar's biggest limitation is that it can only show you materials that are freely available on the Internet. However, you can link Google Scholar to the UMW databases, in order to get full-text access to items that you find using Google Scholar.
You may already know about "citation chaining," which is when you look at an item's list of citations to find older items on the same topic. Google Scholar lets you do the same thing in reverse -- find more recent items that all cite a given item.
Here's an example of an item in Google Scholar:
The article in this example was published in 2018. In the years since then, four other items have cited this item. You could click on "Cited by 4" to view all four of them.
You could also click "Related articles" to view articles that Google Scholar thinks are similar to this article.
Many of the sources that you'll need, especially secondary sources, aren't free. They're locked away in subscription databases, so Google Scholar can't deliver the full text to you.
However, as a UMW student, you have access to more than 200 databases that the library subscribes to. If you tell Google Scholar that you're a UMW student, Google Scholar will put links in your search results that let you access full-text articles by using UMW's subscriptions.
Here's how to set this up:
Step 1: Go to Google Scholar and click on the menu icon at the top left. It looks like this:
Step 2: From the menu, choose Settings.
Step 3: Choose "Library links." In the search box, search for "university of mary washington". Then, check all the checkboxes, and click Save.
That's it! From now on, you'll see links in your Google Scholar search results that say "Full Text @ UMW Libraries."