Search tip: How to get the best out of Google Scholar

Published on
February 26, 2019

Google Scholar is frequently used by researchers and students to find scientific publications. Here are some tips to optimize your search.

It is not surprising that Google Scholar is popular. It is a powerful and easy-to-use academic search engine that has a broad coverage and indexes the full text of articles.

Bear in mind that Google Scholar often reports a high number of search results and makes a selection for you. It ranks the results and shows only 1,000 results of any search, based on algorithms that Google changes frequently. The ranking depends on settings that you may be unaware of, such as your language settings or location.


Here are some tips to get the best out of Google Scholar:

  • Use double quotation marks to search for multiple words next to each other in the specified order, like in compound terms or an exact phrase, e.g., “climate change” or “the impact of climate change on food security”. Otherwise, Google Scholar automatically combines multiple words with the operator AND.
  • Include alternative terms by using the OR operator to find more literature, e.g. “climate change” OR “global warming”. Instead of OR you can also use | (a pipe), e.g., heart|myocardial.  
  • Exclude specific terms by using the – operator. You can exclude as many terms as you want, e.g., mercury –ford –freddy –outboards –planet.

For more tips and information, go to How to use Google Scholar.