A Complete Guide on Using Google Scholar for Academic Research
What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is a simple way which makes it easier for students, researchers and people associated with the academia to conduct broad research for scholarly literature, articles, peer-reviewed papers, thesis, books and various academic resources.
The search titan Google came up with the finest of its application in the year 2004 and named it Google Scholar. The aim of this application is to make academic research convenient for students, teachers and scholars.
Google Scholar lets users come across a variety of publications and sources related to their area or topic of research such as books, journals, essays, research papers, articles, columns, exam papers etc. The tool also allows the scholars to probe through citations, abstracts and text in pdf or other formats.
Use of Google Scholar in Academic Research
Millions of university and private libraries and other repositories have also linked up with Google Scholar to contribute to the database by offering their publications. However, majority of these libraries reveal only a certain portion of source text which matches the topic of research.
In order to gain full access to the article, users need to use the subscription service of these libraries by paying a certain monetary amount. A common misconception is that ‘Google Scholar charges fee for complete article/journal access’ but the previous sentence elucidates that publishers do not let the researchers crawl in their sources for free. Google Scholar itself is a free web application powered by Google.
Basic Features of Google Scholar Search Engine
Generally, academic search engines allow users to carry out their research on factors of citation count and date of publication whereas with Google Scholar, the researcher can precisely come across results in order of relevance, citation, quality, ranking and full text accessibility.
Advanced Search Features of Google Scholar
The advanced search features of Google Scholar provide academic researchers and scholars with the options of researching material by date, type, subject category and name of author/authors hence returning results which are tailored to the exacting specifications of academic requirements.
Search by Author Name
Search by Author feature provides the option to search materials and resources published or authored by a specific author.
You may use the operator with an author’s full name in quotes to further refine your search. Try to use initials rather than full first names, because some sources indexed in Google Scholar only provide the initials.
Search by Date Range
Search by Date feature allows users to set a date range for any publication hence limiting results between pre specifies time ranges.
Date-restricted searches can be effective when you’re looking for the latest developments in a given area. The dropdown menu labeled anytime, which is available on all search results pages, allows you to limit the search to commonly used recent periods.
Search by Publication
Search by Publication provides the option of researching articles and research papers in certain journals, papers or manuals by restricting the research to specific journals by type, category or subject.
According to Google,
Publication-restricted searches may be incomplete. Google Scholar gathers bibliographical data from many sources, including automatically extracting it from text and citations. This information may be incomplete or even incorrect; many preprints, for instance, don’t say where (or even whether) the article was ultimately published.
Search in Specific Subject Area
The search option to research within specific subject categories give users the option to conduct searches in the following subject areas:
- Biology, Life Sciences, and Environmental Science
- Medicine, Pharmacology, and Veterinary Science
- Business, Administration, Finance, and Economics
- Physics, Astronomy, and Planetary Science
- Chemistry and Materials Science
- Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities
- Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics
Legal Opinions and Journals
The Legal Opinions and Journals search feature allows you to limit your search to legal opinions and journals by either selecting the option itself from the advanced search page of Google Scholar or by select the type of collection from the drop down menu displayed on the search results page.
Search Operators for Using Google Scholar
It includes common words, letters and numbers which are normally ignored by Google’s search technology.
Example: [+de Souza]
It excludes all results that include a particular search term, keyword or term.
Example: [apples -author:apples]
It only displays results which include a particular phrase word or term in it.
Example: [“ bio chemical data”]
This operator returns results that include either one of the search terms, as specified in the research.
Example: [finance OR money]
It only returns results that include your search term in the document’s title.
Limitations of Google Scholar
A limitation with Google Scholar is that even after six years of its launch, it is the beta version meaning it is still undergoing development of its database. Nonetheless, it is the best tool which simplifies the research process of scholars by exposing them to diverse literature.