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Google Scholar is a reputable database that is better to use for your research than the standard Google search. This is because Google Scholar draws from scholarly sources, whereas a Google search searches the entire internet.

That said, be wary of using Google Scholar as your only search engine for research. They don't share their algorithms to convey how results are found or ranked; searches rely on your cookies and search history, so they are not replicable by other searchers; their engine likes to ignore AND Boolean operators; and there is a search character limit, so it is challenging to copy/paste search strings from other databases into the Google Scholar search engine.

How Do I...?

One of the flaws of Google Scholar is that it has very limited limiters. Once you have run a search, you can limit your results by publication year... and that's about it.

Advanced Search

There are a few more options to narrow your results through the Advanced Search, accessed through the three lines to the left of the Google Scholar logo in the header of the page.

  • Keyword limits
    • All of the words, an exact phrase, or without certain words
    • Search throughout the article or only in the title.
  • Author: You can specify an author you want to look for.
  • Published in: You can specify what journal or book you want to search in.
  • Date range: You can specify what dates you want your article to have been published in between.
  1. To exclude a term from your search, include a hyphen before that word.
    1. Example: dolphins-football.
    2. Will look for articles about dolphins the animal and not dolphins the football team.
  2. To automatically include synonyms in your search, use a tilde ~.
    1. Example: music~classes.
    2. Will look for articles about music classes, music lessons, music coaching et cetera.
  3. To search within a specific website only, after your keyword type 'site:website of your choice'.
    1. Example: heart attack
    2. Will look for articles about heart attack  only on the site Pubmed
  4. A vertical line (|) serves the same purpose as OR in a regular search. You can also just use the Boolean operator OR.
    1. Example Netflix|Hulu.
    2. Will search for the keyword terms Netflix or Hulu.
  5. To look for articles within a specified date range, use 2 periods within 2 number ranges.
    1. Example: movies 1980..2000.
    2. Will look for articles published between 1980 and 2000.
  6. To find news related to a particular location, after your keyword type 'location:location of your choice'.
    1. Example: Covid location:sanfrancisco
    2. Will look for articles about Covid in San Francisco.
  7. To search for a specific file type such as .pdfs, after your keyword type 'filetype:file type of your choice'.
    1. Example: heart attack filetype:pdf.
    2. Will look for .pdf articles about the subject of heart attack
  8. To run a adjacency search, meaning one keyword has to be within a specified amount of words to another keyword.
    1. Example: microbiome AROUND(3) cancer
    2. Will look for articles where the keywords 'microbiome' and 'cancer' no more than three words apart at some location in the text.

For Search Results

Do a search for the topic of interest, e.g., "knee replacement." Click the Envelope icon in the sidebar of the search results page, enter your email address, and click "Create alert". Google Scholar will then periodically email you newly published papers that match your search criteria.

For Citations

For Myself

Use the above link to create a Google Scholar Profile, which is free and quick to do. Once you get to the homepage with your photo, click "Follow" next to your name, select "New citations to my articles," and click "Done." Google Scholar will then email you when we find new articles that cite yours.

For a Particular Paper

Search for the title of your paper, e.g., "Anti de Sitter space and holography." Click on the "Cited by" link at the bottom of the search result, and then click on the Envelope icon in the left sidebar of the search results page to Create an alert.

For Papers by My Colleagues

First, do a search for your colleague's name, and see if they have a Google Scholar profile. If they do, click on it, click on the "Follow" button next to their name, select "New articles by this author," and click "Done."

If they don't have a profile, do a search by author, e.g., [author:s-hawking], and click on the Envelope in the left sidebar of the search results page. If you find that several different people share the same name, you may need to add co-author names or topical keywords to limit results to the author you wish to follow.

Other Information


Alerts are sent right after we add new papers to Google Scholar. This usually happens several times a week, except on holidays.

How to Unsubscribe

There's a link to cancel the alert at the bottom of every notification email.

How to Edit Alerts

If you created alerts using a Google account, you can manage them using the above link. If you're not using a Google account, you'll need to unsubscribe from the individual alerts and subscribe to the new ones.

Unfortunately, Google Scholar does not offer the option of exporting all article results. Instead, articles have to be selected one at a time, sent to the "My library" section, and exported from there. 

  1. After you run your search, in this case "peanut butter and jelly day," scroll through the results and click on the star icon underneath an article to send it to your library. 

Screen grab of Google Scholar search result with star icon just below the abstract for the resource

  1. Go to the "My library" icon located on the top right side of your screen and just beneath your profile picture. Click on it.

Screen grab of Google Scholar that shows the image for your profile is directly above the My Library link at the top left of the browser page

  1. Select from the articles stored in your library. Click on the export icon, which looks like an arrow pointing downwards.
  2. Select the citation manager you wish to create a file for. The file will be sent to your hard drive, typically to the Downloads folder unless otherwise specified.

Screen grab showing drop-down menu for exporting citations

  1. Open the citation manager of your choice and upload the newly created file from your hard drive.

As your scroll through your articles, you will see some have a "Cited by" icon located underneath them. Clicking on the "Cited by" icon will pull up a list of all articles that have cited the original work.

Google Scholar 'cited by' feature

This is a wonderful way of finding research relevant to a topic, similar to using a paper's citation page to find which articles the author used. The main difference here is that when you use a paper's citation page, the articles listed are always going to be older than the publication. With the "Cited by" feature, you will get more recent publications on the same topic.

Google Scholar allows you to link TWU Libraries to your search! This way you aren't just searching Google Scholar, but you are also searching the holdings we have access to through TWU.

To Set up TWU Libraries in Google Scholar

  1. Go to the "Menu" icon located on the top left hand side of Google Scholar. It looks like three stacked bars. 
  2. Choose "Settings" from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on "Library links" and type in "Texas Woman's University."

Google Scholar library links entry box