Welcome to the final UniSkills Focus On… blog post of the 2022-23 academic year. Today we are looking at Google Scholar.

What is Google Scholar and what does it contain?

Google Scholar is Google’s search engine which focuses on finding academic literature. It will help you find academic journal articles, textbooks, theses, pre-prints, patents and technical reports. It may contain links to content from academic publishers, professional organisations and universities’ research archives.

What are the benefits of using Google Scholar?

Google Scholar offers a number of benefits, which make it a useful tool for finding academic literature:

  • When you complete a search, at the end of each result you will see a Cited by link with a number. This link gives you a list of other sources that have used the same source and may be of interest to your own research.
  • You will also see a Related articles link, which gives you a list of books, articles and other materials related to the one you’ve started with. Some of these may be useful, although it isn’t exactly known how the related items are chosen.
  • If you have a Google account, you can sign in and save citations using the Save link. And you can retrieve those citations by clicking on My Library, which is on the top right-hand side of the page.
  • If you use bibliographic management software, such as RefWorks or EndNote, you can also set up a link to export citations from Google Scholar direct into these tools. It’s very easy to set up in your Settings, under Bibliography manager options, and then simply export to your tool of choice by clicking on Cite under your results.
  • There is a browser extension (or Button as Google calls it!) for all the main web browsers which connects to Google Scholar from any webpage. You can use this to search for a particular article or book, or search for sources using keywords. If you need any help setting this up, Google have written a useful blog!
  • You even can set up a link to provide access to the journal articles that we subscribe to – we’ve created this short video guide if you need any help setting this up.

What are the limits of using Google Scholar?

It’s important to realise that, as well as having benefits, Google Scholar also has its limitations. These include:

  • The filtering system is undeveloped. You can choose a date range, but you can’t choose a particular type of material (e.g., journal articles) or an academic subject. This means that the number of results is always high, but the relevancy drops off after a while.
  • The Full Text @ Edge Hill link only works with journal articles and not books or other types of material. If you find a book you will need to copy and paste the title into Discover More to check if we have it.
  • We don’t know which databases are included in a search. Google Scholar may be a useful tool for finding academic sources, but you shouldn’t forget other search tools, such as Discover More, which the University pays for to give you access to high quality, academic sources.

How do I access Google Scholar?

You can go to Google and search for Google Scholar or type the URL scholar.google.co.uk direct into your web browser.

Further Help and Support

There is a Google Scholar help page, which you can access by clicking on Help in the bottom right-hand corner of the Google Scholar homepage.

And, as always, if you need any further help or support finding, accessing, or getting the most out of your resources head over the UniSkills web pages. From here you can access lots more information, toolkits and video tutorials, book on a UniSkills workshop and even book a one-to-one appointment. 

That’s it for this academic year, but don’t forget to join us to more UniSkills Focus On… blog posts throughout the 2023-24!