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Management Information Skills

Google Scholar

You can set Google Scholar to search both Royal Holloway and Senate House. How to guide.

Is Google Scholar right for your research?

When using Google Scholar, it is helpful to keep these questions in mind:

  • What features does it have to help me get relevant results?
  • What does this tool do well?
  • What does it do poorly?

As a research tool, Google Scholar is good for many tasks, and not as good for others. When deciding whether to use Google Scholar or one of the library's databases, please keep the following in mind:

Google Scholar is good for...

  • Helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
  • Finding "gray literature" like conference proceedings. It includes many articles that wouldn't get included in other indexing services.
  • Locating obscure references that are proving difficult to find in conventional databases.
  • Accessing books and articles in a single search.
  • Locating more information on partial citations.

Google Scholar cannot...

  • Sort/search by disciplinary field
  • Browse by title
  • Limit search results
  • Search the deep web

Keep in Mind:

  • You may get a long list of results, but you will only have access to the text of articles that the Library has paid subscriptions for, or that are freely available.
  • Not everything in Google Scholar is scholarly. Google Scholar searches academic websites (.edu or .ac.uk) as well as journals and publisher websites. Search results can include powerpoints, news annoucements or unpublished materials as well as articles and books. 
  • It is difficult to determine with 100% accuracy all that Google Scholar searches. Therefore, we do not know the breadth of what Google Scholar is indexing and consequently cannot judge the comprehensiveness or completeness of the results of a literature search.
  • We cannot tell how frequently items in Google Scholar are updated.
  • Searching in Google Scholar is imprecise when compared with discipline-specific databases.

Quick Tips

Not finding what you want?

Try some of these tricks:

  • Try to only use first initials when searching for author names. Many articles only include the first initial of the author.
  • Abbreviations of journal names are often used, e.g. J Biol Chem rather than Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  • Keep in mind that Google Scholar gathers bibliographical data from text and citations, including pre-prints, which may include incomplete information. Often, when searching in Google Scholar less is more.
  • Try Advanced Search to give Google more specific information about what you hope to find

Google Scholar - getting started

Before searching Google Scholar, it's a good idea to set your preferences to connect to the Royal Holloway Library. Doing so will allow you to discover articles through the Library's subscription databases. You can change your settings by clicking "Setting" (the gear icon Gear Icon ) near the top of the Google Scholar search page.

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Advanced Searching

Google Scholar casts a wide net when searching which often means you will need to make your search more specific. Using the "advanced search" feature is the easiest way to narrow your results. You can go to the advanced search page by clicking on the arrow on the right end of the Google Scholar search box: 

You can now fill in information on the advanced search screen: