What Is Google Scholar and How to Use It?

google scholar

This guide explains what is the Google Scholar search engine and how to use it for research.

What is Google Scholar (academic search)?

Google Scholar is an academic search engine that allows you to search a wide range of academic sources for free: peer-reviewed articles, theses, books, abstracts, and papers.

Source publishers are typically scientific publishers, scholarly societies, pre-publication repositories, universities and other research organizations.

How to use Google Scholar?

Do a standard search by typing in keywords. The AND operator is implied (meaning that the search engine considers all the words you enter). To search for an exact phrase, use quotation marks. See our tips below.

As in the search world, the engine sorts the results by favoring the articles most cited by others. It is based on the full text of the article, the name of the author and the publication in which the article appeared.

How can I search Google Scholar for recent content?

To search for more recent articles, try the following options in the left sidebar:

  1. click on “Since Year” to display only recently published articles, sorted by relevance
  2. click on “Sort by Date” to see only new additions, sorted by date
  3. click on the envelope icon to periodically receive new results by email

How to use Google Scholar advanced search?

You can use these operators :

  • author: to search for a specific author
  • intitle: to search in the title of the article
  • site: to limit the search to a specific site
  • journal: to search in a specific journal
  • date: to search by date of publication (year on 4 digits)
  • subject areas: to search by subject, for example Subject areas:Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities
  • filetype: to search by file type, e.g. filetype:pdf

You can also use the advanced search (via the menu)

Here are some other tips:

  • If you are not yet familiar enough with the terms of the topic you are searching for, learn about the terminology by looking up the jargon on specialized sites or on Wikipedia.
  • If the search results are too specific for your needs, look up what they cite in their “References” sections. The works referenced are often more general in nature.
  • Similarly, if the search results are too basic for you, click on “Cited by” to see the most recent articles that have referenced them. These more recent articles will often be more specific.
  • Click on “Related Articles” or “Cited By” to see closely related works, or search for the author’s name and see what else they have written.

How do I search by author in Google Scholar?

Use the author: operator followed by the author’s name, in quotes if there are multiple words. For example author: "jean tirole" to search for articles by Jean Tirole.

How do I search for PDFs in Google Scholar?

Add filetype:pdf to your search, for example filetype:pdf jean tirole to search for articles by Jean Tirole in PDF format.

It is the same in Google with the search operator filetype:pdf.

Where does the content indexed in Google Scholar come from?

These are journal and conference articles, theses and dissertations, academic books, preprints, abstracts, technical reports, and other scholarly publications from all major research fields.

You’ll find works from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, and academic repositories, as well as scholarly articles available anywhere on the Web. Google Scholar also includes court opinions and patents.

How do I find the best scholarly articles?

Browse top publications here by filtering by category, subcategory and language.

What is the difference between Google and Google Scholar?

Google is a general-purpose search engine, whereas Google Scholar is a search engine that specializes in academic articles, for example from scientific journals. Scholar has a much lower coverage than Google, but features adapted to the search of scientific articles.

Download Google Scholar

There is no app, but you can install the Google Scholar Button extension for the Chrome browser.

This extension adds a browser button that allows you to easily access Google Scholar from any web page. Just click on the Scholar button to perform a search.

Google Scholar Citations

What is it for?

Google Scholar Citations provides authors with a simple way to track citations to their papers. You can check who is citing your publications, graph citations over time, and calculate several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public so that it appears in Google Scholar results when people search for your name, such as Jean Tirole.

How do I set up a Google Scholar citation account?

You need to create a Google Scholar citations profile (it’s quick and free).

  1. Log in to your Google account or create a Google account if you don’t have one yet.
  2. Fill out the Citations registration form. If possible, also include your university’s email address.
  3. Next, you will be offered articles written by people with names similar to yours. Click “Add All Articles” next to each group of articles that belongs to you or “View All Articles” to add specific articles from that group. If you don’t see your articles in these groups, click “Search Articles” to do a regular search in Google Scholar, then add your articles one by one. Feel free to do as many searches as you like.
  4. Choose the setting for updating your Google Scholar profile.
  5. That’s it! You can also add your photo, check your email (email linked to your university), check the list of articles. When everything is done, if you wish, make your profile public so that it appears in Google Scholar search results.

Google Scholar Library

What is the Google Scholar library?

The Google Scholar library is your personal collection of articles, a way to easily find your favorite articles.

You can save articles directly on the search page, organize them by topic, and use the power of Scholar search to quickly find the one you want, anytime, anywhere. You decide what goes into your library and Google keeps the links up to date.

How do I add an article to my library?

Search for the article you want to add in Google Scholar and click on the “Save” link under the search result (the star icon):

What is the difference between my library and my Scholar profile?

Your profile contains all the articles you have written yourself. It is a way to showcase your work to others, as well as keep track of your citations.
Your library is a way to organize the papers you want to read or cite, not just the ones you have written. Your library automatically includes all the articles in your profile; they appear under the “My Citations” label.

Ranking in Google Scholar (academic search)

What is the h-index in Google Scholar?

The h-index of a publication is the largest number h such that at least h articles from that publication have been cited at least h times each. For example, a publication with five articles cited respectively by 17, 9, 6, 3 and 2 has the h-index of 3.

What is the h-core in Google Scholar?

The h-core of a publication is a set of the most cited h-articles of the publication. These are the articles on which the h-index is based. For example, the publication above has the h-core with three articles, those cited by 17, 9 and 6.

What is the h-median in Google Scholar?

The h-median of a publication is the median of the number of citations in its h-core. For example, the median h of the above publication is 9. The median h is a measure of the distribution of citations to articles in core h.

The h5, h5-core and h5-median indices

Finally, the h5, h5-core and h5-median indices of a publication are respectively the h-index, h-core and h-median taking into account only its articles published in the last five years.

Other questions

What does the slogan “On the shoulders of a giant” mean?

Google Scholar’s slogan is “Standing on the shoulders of a giant” to remind us that academic research often builds on what others have already built or discovered. It is inspired by Isaac Newton’s famous quote: “If I have seen further, it is because I have been sitting on the shoulders of giants.

Are all articles on Google Scholar peer reviewed?

No, Google Scholar searches for peer-reviewed articles but also for theses, books, abstracts, and papers.