Today I will give you several tips that will help you to make the most of Google Scholar. Although some tutors and lecturers and definitely most of librarians don’t like Google Scholar, students do.
Frankly, you will have hard time trying to find a better tool to search for academic publications.
When I was writing my PhD thesis, I cited about 450 sources. Out of these 450 academic sources only few could not be found by Google Scholar. Google Scholar wasn’t my only source of information, but it was definitely the most important one.
Of course, Google Scholar is far from perfect. For example, it often provides incorrect bibliographical information.
It doesn’t cover so-called ‘grey literature’ and might not cover some academic databases. For this reason Google Scholar shouldn’t be used as the only source of scholarly knowledge.
Despite these problems, it is still an amazing tool. Despite its popularity, only few students harness full potential of Google Scholar. Therefore, learning a few tricks can help you get the most out of the tool.
Use advanced search. Click the black arrow in the search box to get the advanced search window.
Refine your searches by e.g. publication name and date and more.
The more specific you are the better results you will get. Learn to use AND, OR operators.
Use operators in capitals.
Search for words in the title and not in the body of the article
Search for the specific years. Search results are sorted by default by relevance.
Create an email alert. Email alert will help you keep track of the latest publications.
Evaluate your sources with Google Scholar. Check how many times the article was cited by other authors. Generally the more, the better. Remember that the article might have been cited for all the wrong reasons. Also the article might have been frequently cited because some researchers assumed its importance on basis of citation number.
Use Metrics. It is a simple way to find out what is an influence of a particular academic journals. Look at h5 index. The higher the better.
Link Google Scholar to your university library. Remember that reading the entire article may require a subscription. You might be able get an access to full versions of the articles through your library.
Use Google Scholar with your bibliography manager. Highlight the bibliographical information. Click EndNote below to download it. Click on the downloaded file to add to e.g. CITAVI.