Skip to Main Content

Google Scholar


Google Scholar is a freely accessible search engine that can pull a myriad of resources across disciplines, including dissertations, grey literature, articles, and books. This can be an important resource for tracking citations, exploring the works of authors, and locating related works that are pertinent to your research. Use this guide to learn more about utilizing Google Scholar to your full advantage. 

Things to consider

When thinking about the scope of your research, Google Scholar can be a good place to begin on account of several factors:

  • Its search encompasses all academic disciplines and can retrieve a diverse set of formats and types of information.
  • The Google interface is very familiar, allowing ease of use.
  • Has the ability to retrieve information from Open Access repositories (this means research that is freely available to members of the general public).
  • You can import references into reference management software, such as Zotero or EndNote.

Keeping the above points in mind, Google Scholar should not be your sole point of information retrieval for research because:

  • Some publishers are hesitant to make their content freely available which impacts the scope of Google Scholar.
  • While it covers all academic disciplines it's not an even representation: the fields of medicine, science, and technology are more prominent than the humanities, for instance.
  • Google Scholar focuses on indexing electronically available material, which means you might miss out on material that's only available in print.
  • There are limitations in sorting your results. Google Scholar does not allow you to sort by author or journal name, whereas other databases in a library offer that option.