Google Scholar is...
Google Scholar is a search engine that provides links to full-text articles to which the University Library system subscribes or to articles made freely available by the publisher or author via pre-prints.
"We index papers, not journals." https://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/help.html#coverage
"Google Scholar includes journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports and other scholarly literature from all broad areas of research. You'll find works from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies and university repositories, as well as scholarly articles available anywhere across the web. Google Scholar also includes court opinions and patents." https://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/help.html#coverage
What does Google Scholar find?
- substantial fraction of scholarly articles published in the last five years.
- journal articles from websites that follow our inclusion guidelines;
- selected conference articles in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering;
- preprints from arXiv, SSRN, NBER and RePEC - for these sites, we compute metrics for individual collections, e.g., "arXiv Superconductivity (cond-mat.supr-con)" or "CEPR Discussion Papers".
- journal articles
- technical reports
- legal cases
- grey literature
- other kinds of scholarly documents.
- Google Scholar Metrics and overview of inclusion from July 2020
- court opinions, patents, books, and dissertations;
- publications with fewer than 100 articles published between 2010 and 2014;
- publications that received no citations to articles published between 2010 and 2014.
- don't currently cover a large number of articles from smaller publications
Why use Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is not a replacement for subject databases available through the WMU Libraries. Instead, Google Scholar complements the collection and expands your research.
- Broaden search to what is not indexed in databases owned by WMU libraries
- Easy natural language search
- Quick citation count to weigh the impact factor of an article
- Quick links to citing literature
- Easy to do a thorough/extensive review of the literature
- Quick proxy links to full text articles via WMU databases
- Create an account to set up alerts for different searches
- Ease of use; similar features of Google web search
- Search by cited feature
- Ranking of results
- Citation information provided
- Search vast array of information; technical reports, preprints, societal publications
- Full-text if available
- Full-text not available or restriction access without a subscription
- Uneven coverage in social sciences, better for hard sciences
- No limiter for just scholarly publications
- Few options to limit or narrow search results
- Unable to find out exactly what the content is, or what is missing.
Caution is needed
- Google Scholar does not index all scholarly articles; therefore, some articles citing the item under study may not be counted.
- Google Scholar includes citations from an array of sources in its cited by calculation, including PowerPoints and Word documents, and gives everything an equal rank.
- Author names can be tricky to search and the results can vary greatly depending on how the name is entered; we recommend searching only the author's last name and combining that with the main title in quotations.
- Variants in how the item is cited can result in more than one entry for the item under study.
- The term "citation" in brackets [CITATION] at the beginning of an entry, indicates that the full text of the item is not accessible through Google Scholar. Use Library Search to try to locate the complete record.
*Fun Fact: Google Scholar accidentally parsed information from a school lunch menu!
Information adapted from Western Michigan University at https://libguides.wmich.edu/c.php?g=1056488&p=7675686