Google Scholar: what it is and how it works, tips and everything you can do
Google has many different services and platforms, and some are little known outside of certain specialized circles. For example Google Scholar. We’ll see what it is, how it works, and tips and tricks to get the most out of it.
It is not a new tool: Google Scholar (Google Scholar in English) has been in operation since 2004. But most users, when they have to search for academic information, look at Wikipedia, or even Google’s own search engine, and there they stay.
If you are looking for data, biographies, studies, theses, lessons, courses, journal articles, and other academic content, that is exactly what you will find in Google Scholar, with a series of practical functions to manage information, consult or create your own content library.
For those who have never used it, we will explain what is Google Scholar, how does it work, and what can we use it for. If you already know it, you may be interested in the tips for use to get the most out of it.
Google Scholar will save you a lot of search and documentation work if you are a student or work from home using a desktop computer, or a laptop.
This is how Google Scholar works
What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar The Google Scholar in English, it is a specialized Google search engine that only handles academic documents. You can access the web through this link.
With Google Scholar You can search for scientific articles, theses, theses, book citations, articles and news from scientific journals, science projects and studies, biographies, and other topics that are widely used if you are a student, professional related to science, or academic.
It is important to understand that the results obtained here they are different from the classic Google search engine, because it does not use the same indexing algorithm, nor the same fonts.
Google Scholar Search libraries, journal websites, project repositories, universities, academic databases, and similar places.
It also has priorities other than the usual advertising and commercial priorities of the Google search engine. This academic version prioritizes that they be complete and original articles, that the author has prestige and, especially, that both the author himself and the document are cited on numerous occasions in other writings.
Similarly, the information in the search results is different from that of the Google search engine. In Google Scholar you can see data such as the version number of the document, to see if it has been updated.
Please note that in some cases you will get links to paid articles in scientific journals, or books to buy. In any case, the search engine warns when it is a paid product, and always tries to find free alternatives.
Advantages of Google Scholar
Why should you use this search engine when you are looking for academic texts? These are its advantages:
- Find content that does not appear in the Google search engine
- Links to texts within academic books, and the library where they can be borrowed
- Allows you to save the documents in your Library, to consult them later
- You can see when a text has been updated
- Link some topics with others, so you can follow an investigation, or a data search
As we see, it is a very useful tool for students and professionals.
How to use Google Scholar
Now that we know what it is for, it is time to learn how to use this tool. We will also see a series of tips to take advantage of it. You can enter Google Academic from this link.
Sign in with a Google account
If you only use it occasionally it is not necessary, but if you plan to make Google Scholar a regular tool, It is convenient for you to Sign in with a Google account.
This will allow you to create your own Library with the links to the documents you are saving, as well as receive alerts when the texts of your choice are updated, or create a profile, if you are an academic, to keep track of your articles and thesis.
To get things right from the start, start by customizing the tool, before doing things with her.
Tap on the menu in the upper left corner (the three horizontal stripes) to display the content. Here you will find the settings.
Settings are actually pretty basic, and you only have a few relevant options.
In Search results you can choose the number of results per page, and if you want to show links to import citations to services like BinTex or EndNote. Or if they open in another tab.
In Languages You must select both the interface language and the search languages. For example, you can ask me to only search texts in Spanish and English, if they are the languages you master.
In Links to Libraries you can add links to local libraries you use. In some cases you will also have to include the password to be able to use them, if it is a service only for students, or for a fee.
Finally, with Button it is possible to create a button on Google to search Google Scholar.
Looking for data
Now that the tool is configured, we are going to use it.
Searches will be carried out the same as on Google: we write the words to look for in the box, and click if we only want texts in Spanish, or in any language. By pressing the Forget, we will get the list of results. For example we are going to look for this information: the most poisonous reptiles. We obtain a list similar to the Google search engine, but looking carefully we can see different icons and information:
Each result is headed by a label that tells us what content it is: a quote, a website, a book, a magazine article, etc.
In the rightmost column are the direct links to the full article in each result, be it a book, a website, or a PDF document.
In each entry it is worth looking at the data below, in blue:
The star allows you to save the document in your Library.
The comillas They are used to cite the article using different citation services, such as BibTex, EndNote, RefMan or RefWorks. This is very useful when you are doing a thesis or a very long project, because it allows you to collect the authors of the citations, so that you do not forget to include anyone.
Quoted by tells us how many times this content has been cited in other works. It is a critical value for Google, the one that makes it appear first in the list of results.
An important field is Related Posts. It shows you other articles that talk about the same as the found document. It is very useful for finding additional information or linking topics to study.
If a document has several versions, you can access all of them with the Versions option.
Finally, with the arrows you can convert a PDF file to HTML, to read it as a web, instead of as a textbook.
As you have seen, the search engine finds all kinds of documents and relationships between them. But if the topic is very popular, it can offer thousands of results. So you have to filter.
The filters are in the left column:
They are self-explanatory, so we won’t dwell on them too much. As seen in the image above, the active filters at all times are shown in red.
First of all we can filter by dates. You can choose documents for specific years, or a range of years: for example from 2015 to 2020.
In section Order we can sort the results by relevance (importance), or by date.
Again they give us the option of filter by languages. And finally, we can decide if we want to include patent documents, and citations (fragments) of texts, or only full texts in searches.
At the bottom of the filters there is an icon shaped like an envelope, called Create alert.
It allows us to create an alert for that specific search:
We can modify the specific text with which the alert will be triggered, if a document containing that search is published. If that happens, will send us a notification to our email. We can also choose the maximum number of results that we want to include in the alert. Clicking on Create Alert, we create it.
It is strange that Google does not include an icon advanced search directly on the cover. You have to look for it in the menu on the left.
Advanced search allow apply new filters before performing the search, and not after, like the previous ones:
Depending on the box where we write the search terms, we can search for all the words regardless of the order, the exact phrases, at least one of the words, or that do not contain those words.
The rest of the options allow us to search the entire article or only the title, as well as by author, within a publication (magazine or web), or by date.
The search results that you have marked with the star, as we have seen, they are kept in your library.
You can find it at the top of the cover, or in the menu on the left:
It is not very mysterious, as it works the same as the search results list.
On the left you will see the filters, with a new feature: Manage Tags. This option allows you to create your own labels. For example you can create a call Thesis To label the documents that you will use with your university thesis:
If we mark a document that we have stored in the Library, the gray icons at the top will be activated. We can edit your file, delete it (remove it from the Library), download it, or add a tag that we have created.
Later in the filter we will have the option to filter by label.
If you are an academic or you plan to publish scientific writings, you can create a profile on Academic Gogle. It is used to keep track of the documents you have published.
You just have to tap on My profile on the menu:
Here you have to create a kind of resume with your name, degree, a verification email from the university where you studied, your field of work, website, etc.
Then you add the links to your articles, and set alerts to notify you when someone links or quotes them.
As we have seen Google Scholar is a very practical and efficient tool If you need to search for educational material and you are a student, teacher, academic, or professional related to teaching.