how to use this rich Google search tool – WAU
Google Scholar is a Google tool that makes it possible to find articles, theses, dissertations and other useful publications for researchers. There are advantages and disadvantages in its use, either to search or to add relevance to your name in the academic environment.
You may not even remember, but there was a time when access to information was more difficult.
News, research and several other sources of knowledge were not available in the palm of our hands or in the pocket of our pants – something made possible by the popularity of smartphones and the growth of Digital Marketing.
Another limitation most frequently encountered until a few years ago concerned financial access to these materials. However, the internet and free search engines, such as Google Scholar, have brought new ways of studying and creating research.
In this post, you will learn more about Google’s academic tool, check out its main advantages and disadvantages and learn how to get the best out of it. Follow!
What you will see in this text:
What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is a powerful search engine for academic materials rich and useful in information. It includes articles, TCCs, theses, dissertations and books. The materials come mainly from Google Books and academic open access databases, such as Scielo, Altametric and Wiley.
Created in 2004 as Google Scholar, in 2006 the platform gained the London version and started to offer research also in London. Google does not officially disclose the size of its database, but a January 2019 survey estimates the tool to be the largest academic search currently, with more than 389 million records.
The page layout is very similar to the traditional Google search engine and the results are also ordered in order of relevance. Due to the wide reach of the tool, some researchers already consider Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO) in their publications, aiming at better indexing on the platform through content optimization.
What are the benefits of Google Scholar?
In addition to bringing convenience and gratuitousness to research, Google academic brings several other advantages that justify its use. Check out four of them below.
Multiple sources accessible for free
Like most of the tools offered by the company, Google Scholar is free. It is possible to have access to a wide range of information in different languages and referring to the most varied areas of knowledge without paying anything for it. Researchers who want to upload their material can also use it for free.
Integration with university libraries
The Google Scholar database is formed by the framework of different online libraries that are also free. However, if you have access to paid or limited libraries for members and students – like Harvard’s, for example – it is possible to include them in the searcher’s repertoire.
The main advantage of this practice is to bring all of your research sources together in one place. To do this, just go to Settings> Library links and search for the library you want to add.
As we said, researchers can manually upload their work to the search engine. In addition, it is possible to create alarms for follow up every time your work was quoted in other articles. To enable this functionality, you must create a specific profile, in addition to being logged into your Google account.
If you need practicality in your academic life, the Google Scholar button can be added to your browser. It facilitates the transfer of a reading from any web page to the academic search engine and formats references in a standardized way – ideal for those still struggling with ABNT, for example.
Build unique knowledge libraries
To further assist in the search for relevant documents for a researcher, Google Scholar has a library resource. It is highly customizable and its main purpose is to store information relevant to a specific project or job.
With the function of saving information, the researcher centralizes all the information acquired on the platform in one place and it is easy to find the bibliographic references that you used when building an article.
If the reference searched is a book, for example, when accessing the information and entering your zip code, you can find a library or bookstore with this publication near you.
These expansive resources, which make accessing knowledge a simpler task, are what make Google Scholar stand out among other research tools designed for the same purpose. And they can all be accessed for free, as long as you have a Google account.
Add a free tool to your kit
Most journals, newspapers, magazines and books have a cost to be accessed, even in their online versions. The “academic paywall”, which requires us to register with a number of university sites to access certain knowledge, is a problem in the community and something that other resources like Unpaywall.org are trying to address.
Google Scholar also helps you on this journey and brings you another free tool to make access to information universal. Use it to expand the access strategies you have at hand when searching for the missing data for your search!
What are the disadvantages of Google Scholar?
Certainly Google Scholar offers more advantages than disadvantages, but that does not mean that there are some negative points. Below are the two main ones.
The Google Scholar database is huge, but not all content can be consumed in its entirety – especially books. It is common for some surveys just indicate the sources, without guaranteeing access.
This can also happen with articles, since some journals are intended for members and charge a fee for the complete reading of published works.
Omission of relevant sources
Because of Google’s indexing criteria – and those specific to Google Scholar – some relevant works may end up outside your search just because they did not take these specifications into account in their production.
The opposite can also happen for the same reason, and it is possible that some results may bring outdated, unreliable or even academic sources.
How to use Google Scholar?
Now that you know the main advantages and disadvantages of Google Scholar, we present a step by step how to get the best out of it. As we explained, the tool is very similar to the traditional Google search engine, but there are some “tricks” that can facilitate the search and improve your results.
Access to Google’s academic tool is quite simple. Enough search for “Google Scholar” in the traditional search engine or type https://scholar.google.com.br/ in your browser. As we said, the services provided by the tool are free, but you must have a Google email account to guarantee access to all features.
If you want to use Google Scholar only to do research, just go ahead and start your searches. Now, if your interest is to include your publications, we explain below how to associate the profiles.
If you’re very familiar with Gmail, you should know that you can create labels there. They are used to organize and facilitate the search for incoming and outgoing emails. So, you can identify what is “Work”, “Accounts”, “Events” and so on.
A very similar feature is available on Google Scholar. To do this, just follow from the “My Library” panel to “Manage labels” and there define the markers that will best organize your search – either by author, by article to be prepared, by subject to be studied or as is most convenient for you.
Organize the library
Bookmarks certainly help you organize your library. But in addition to them, you will always find a star under each result presented in a search. When selecting them, you can save an article to read later. This functionality can also be used with content that requires recurring access.
If you want to see all the articles saved in your library, just click on “My library”, in the upper right corner, below your avatar. If you have a Google Scholar profile, all of your articles will be automatically included in your library. It is also possible to see all the content in which your searches are cited.
Alerts are used to receive notifications for each new publication on a topic of interest. Defining keywords allows you to register an author, for example. You can even include your own name to receive notifications whenever your search is referenced.
Track your research citations
Another way to follow your publications around the world is through the “My quotes” functionality. To enable it, just select automatic updating of your texts when creating your profile, which we explained above.
You can select whether you want to receive an email for review and confirmation before the content is added to your name.
How to search CBT and books?
You are probably already familiar with the traditional Google search engine. If this is the case, you should not face any major difficulties in conducting research on Google Scholar. However, below are three tips that can further improve your results. Check out!
Search profiles or articles
In the same way that when creating your profile you can choose to make it public and be located by other researchers, you can start a search from the name of specific authors.
The other possibility is search from the title of a paper, or even from more general keywords, which will bring results a little less refined, but still organized by relevance – according to Google Scholar criteria.
Google Scholar filters are not as extensive as those of the traditional search engine, but they are quite useful. You can view results by year of publication, relevance or date and existence of patent. You can also specify whether the results should show citations or not.
Do an advanced search
To use the advanced search, you need to locate the magnifying glass with the “+” symbol that is located in the sidebar to the left of the browser. After that, it’s just fill in the fields that will bring greater precision to your results.
You can find articles in the following ways:
- with all the words;
- with the exact phrase;
- with at least one of the words;
- without certain words;
- specifying whether the words should occur anywhere in the article or in the title;
- display articles by a specific author;
- display articles published in a given journal;
- display articles between dates of your choice.
The “Metrics” tool allows you to view the most relevant articles, according to categories presented by the website itself. It’s also a great way to keep up with trends in your area. This functionality is available in 12 languages: English, Chinese, London, German, Spanish, London, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Dutch, London and Ukrainian.
The tool provides the 100 most cited journals, while the columns “Index h5” and “Median h5” organize the ranking with the average number of references that your articles received. That is, you can make a thorough examination of the articles displayed, in view of the various options available.
How to register your work with Google Scholar?
Now that you know how to refine your searches and take better advantage of Google Scholar as a student, see now how to have your profile listed among the authors that can be found in the tool.
Create a profile
As we said, if you intend to include your academic productions in the tool, you must create a profile on Google Scholar itself.
You include your main contact information, as well as your university affiliations. Here, the informed email should preferably be that of the educational institution – with the ending .edu -, but it is also possible to leave this area blank.
Associate the article with your profile
Since Google Scholar has access to major academic journals and newspapers, the next page will already display the results with your name and you can select those you want to claim authorship and link to your profile. Very simple!
What precautions are needed when using Google Scholar?
If you are already familiar with academic life, these tips will not be new. It is necessary to check the data presented in the results and properly choose the material that will be used in your publications. After all, despite being a tool with articles, documents and publications rich in data and information, you must always be aware of what you use as a source.
Furthermore, as we speak, it is always important keep in mind Google Scholar’s indexing criteria and, depending on the case, extend your search to other search engines. Unfortunately, many tools provide false or outdated information and the same can happen with Google Scholar.
The internet has changed different social relationships and practices and it is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that the way of doing research is one of them. After all, is there a physical library that compares to the information contained in Google Scholar?
Regardless of your area of expertise, it is important to know how to keep up with new trends and technologies – provided, of course, that you follow the tips we brought here to find the best results in your searches. Thus, Google Scholar will be a very useful tool for you.
Now that you know how to use Google Scholar, check out our ebook with all the information you need to know about Google’s top tools!