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How to use Google Scholar effectively

Google Scholar is currently the most relevant free academic search engine. Do you want to know how to use it to your advantage? Then keep reading, because in the next paragraphs I will explain you how to achieve better results with your research.

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I. What is Google Scholar? 

Google Scholar is a platform created by Google to be used as a search engine for academic works. This engine goes through almost all indexed content online, accessing large databases of universities and other scholarly repositories.

Normally, this research engine would be enough to find the most relevant sources in your field of research. However I advice to access other academic search engines, such as Scopus or Semantic Scholar. Especially if you have access through your academic institution use platforms such as HeinOnline, JSTOR or Web of Science

In 2023, Google Scholar it is the greatest free-subscription search engine for academic content. It has a wide catalogue, and many features that can make your research much easier.

 

II. Why use Google Scholar?

The normal version of Google does not have the option to narrow the results to academic pieces that you might be interested in. Therefore you could find anything, from a news report to a blogpost like this, instead of a distilled universe of scholarly works. In this regard, the main advantage of Google Scholar is the ability to access scholarly articles exclusively.

III. What are the key advantages and tips for utilizing it effectively?

  1. You can log in with your gmail account and create an academic profile. In your profile you can create reading lists where you can save the articles that you find relevant.
  2. You can choose a citation format, ready to copy and paste, in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard or Vancouver style. It also allows you to export the source in BibTeX, EndNote, RefMan or RefWorks, to save it into your favorite reference management software (such as Zotero, etc.)
  3. You can view the approximate number of citations for the academic piece you are searching for and identify who has cited it. This feature is extremely useful as it allows you to locate seminal works in your field and access the most recent research that references them.
  4. In fact, within the research results you can filter the articles by date or relevance (number of citations), among other parameters.
  5. Another notable feature of Google Scholar is the ability to directly access the full article within the platforms indexed by the search engine. This functionality proves to be highly advantageous as it saves valuable time that would otherwise be spent searching through individual databases for the desired article. Moreover, users can swiftly download the PDF version of the article within seconds.
  6. You can link your institutional email, such as your current university email, to Google Scholar. By doing so, you can gain faster and broader access to articles that may otherwise be restricted to paid platforms. This advantage becomes particularly significant if your institution has already subscribed to those platforms, allowing you to take full advantage of their resources.

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