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Library Databases

How to Get Started with Google Scholar


Embarking on a research journey or looking to elevate your academic prowess? Google Scholar is the perfect companion for you. In this comprehensive guide, we will unveil the secrets to getting started with Google Scholar, optimizing your research experience, and harnessing its potential for academic excellence. So, let's dive into the world of Google Scholar and discover the tools and techniques that can help you become an expert in your field.

What is Google Scholar and Why Use It?

Google Scholar is a search engine designed specifically for finding scholarly literature, including articles, theses, books, conference papers, and technical reports. As a powerful research tool, it offers numerous benefits for students, researchers, and professionals alike:

  • Extensive coverage of scholarly resources
  • Easy access to full-text articles and citations
  • Advanced search options and filters
  • Personalized libraries and citation management
  • Integration with citation management software

How to Get Started with Google Scholar

Navigating Google Scholar is intuitive and user-friendly. Follow these simple steps to start your research journey:

Step 1: Access Google Scholar

Visit the Google Scholar homepage at No account is required for basic searches, but signing in with a Google account unlocks additional features like personal libraries and citation management.

Step 2: Perform a Basic Search

Enter your keywords or phrases in the search bar and click the magnifying glass icon to perform a search. You can enclose phrases in quotes to search for exact matches.

Step 3: Refine Your Search Results

Google Scholar offers several ways to refine your search results:

  • Use the "Sort by" dropdown menu to sort results by relevance or date.
  • Apply filters to your search by using the options in the left-hand sidebar, such as year, author, or journal.
  • Use the "Cited by" link to find articles that cite the original work.
  • Click "Related articles" to discover similar research.

Step 4: Access Full-Text Articles

To access the full text of an article, click on the title or the PDF/HTML link on the right side of the search results. If the article is not freely available, look for alternative access options such as your institution's library or Google Books.

Advanced Search Techniques and Tips

Maximize the power of Google Scholar by using these advanced search techniques:

Use Advanced Search Filters

Click the menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the top-left corner and select "Advanced search" to access additional search filters. These filters allow you to search by author, title, publication, and date range.

Use Boolean Operators and Wildcards

Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine or exclude keywords, and use wildcards (*) to search for variations of a word.

Search for Specific Document Types

To search for specific document types, such as conference papers or theses, include relevant keywords in your search query (e.g., "conference paper" or "thesis").

Set up Alerts

Stay updated on the latest research in your field by setting up alerts. Click the "Create alert" link under the search bar and enter your search query, email address, and alert preferences.

Personalizing Your Google Scholar Experience

Make Google Scholar work for you by personalizing your experience:

Create a Personal Library

Sign in with your Google account and click "My library" to save 

articles, create collections, and organize your research. Click the star icon next to an article in the search results to add it to your library.

Manage Citations

 In your library, click the "Cite" button under each article to access citation information in various formats, such as APA and MLA. You can also export citations to citation management tools like EndNote or Zotero.

Configure Library Links

To access full-text articles through your institution's library, click the menu icon in the top-left corner, select "Settings," and then "Library links." Search for your institution and save your selection.

Frequently Asked Questions about Getting Started with Google Scholar

Here are some common questions and answers related to using Google Scholar:

Is Google Scholar free to use?

Yes, Google Scholar is a free search engine. However, not all articles found on Google Scholar are available for free. Some may require a subscription or purchase. Check with your institution's library for access to subscription-based resources.

How can I find open-access articles on Google Scholar?

To find open-access articles, look for links labeled "PDF" or "HTML" on the right side of the search results. You can also try searching for your topic along with the keyword "open access."

How do I cite an article found on Google Scholar?

To generate a citation for an article, click the "Cite" button below the search result. Choose the desired citation style, and then copy and paste the citation into your document.

Can I use Google Scholar for systematic reviews?

Yes, Google Scholar can be used for systematic reviews. However, it is essential to complement your search with other databases and search engines to ensure comprehensive coverage.


Getting started with Google Scholar is a game-changer for anyone seeking academic excellence. By mastering the search techniques, personalizing your experience, and staying updated with the latest research, you can harness the power of this indispensable tool to enhance your scholarly pursuits. So, embark on your journey with Google Scholar and unlock a world of knowledge at your fingertips.

Google Scholar Search

We suggest using the recommended databases first, but Google Scholar can offer additional sources.