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Search methods & techniques: Get the most out of Google Scholar

Get the most out of Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a suite of tools for scholars. You can use it to search for scholarly publications, mainly journal articles, and access e-content in publisher’s websites, academic repositories, and libraries. To avoid publisher’s paywalls we recommend configuring the Google Scholar settings to show Library links so that you can access e-content licensed to the EUR Library. 
You can also configure Google Scholar search results to export references directly to a Bibliography manager. RefWorks is an online reference manager free to EUR students and staff.

Watch the video Get the most out of Google Scholar (2:25) and discover how to use this search engine effectively as an EUR student.

Customize Google Scholar to connect to the library’s resources

Customize your Google Scholar settings to link to the Erasmus University Library’s collection. Click on the Settings link/Gear icon located at the top under the hamburger menu:

On the Settings page, click on Library links. Mark the Erasmus University Library as one of your library access links; if Erasmus University Library isn't listed use the search box to find it. Save your settings.

Your search result in Google Scholar will display a FULL TEXT @ EUR link for those publications available from the EUR Library. Click the FULL TEXT @ EUR link, log in with your ERNA-account when prompted and access the publication:

Export citations to RefWorks

Manually collecting the information you need to create correct references can be a lot of work. There are tools available, called reference managers, to make this easier. A reference manager like RefWorks is very useful for two main reasons. They help you:

  • Manage your literature
  • Create and style in-text citations (or footnotes), reference lists and bibliographies

Google Scholar offers two ways to export citations to RefWorks:

OPTION 1:                                              

Click the Cite button to export a citation to RefWorks:

Select your version of RefWorks and log in if you haven't already. Your record will be downloaded automatically and should appear in the Last Imported folder.


On the Settings page, scroll down to the area called Bibliography manager. Select Refworks from the dropdown menu at Show links to import citations into and click Save.

Conduct your search in Google Scholar. An Import into Refworks button should be on each citation.

Click this button to add a citation to RefWorks. Select your version of RefWorks and log in if you haven't already. Your record will be downloaded automatically and should appear in the Last Imported folder.

Advanced search

The Advanced Search in Google Scholar gives you more control over your search to find more relevant results by using filters and other parameters.

Decide for yourself which keywords should appear in the title or text of a journal article, or exclude search terms. You can also limit your results by date, journal or author.

To start the Advanced search, click on the Google Scholar menu (hamburger button, top left) then click Advanced search.

Impact of the publication

Cited by

Google Scholar lists for each publication the number of times it has been referenced in newer papers. In the example below the book by Göran Hydén has been cited 685 times. Each academic discipline has its own levels (citation patterns and counts): for economic and political development 685 times is a relatively good level. In other disciplines you may find (ten-) thousands of citations.

Related articles

Another way of discovering publications about your chosen topic, is to look at ‘Related articles’. Google Scholar’s ‘Related articles’ lists closely related articles published previously or later than this one.

Book Reviews

Although Google Scholar lists the work in the example above as ‘[BOOK]’, it is in fact a book review: in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, Volume 42, Issue 04 (December 2009): pp 1082-1083 by Amy R. Poteete of Concordia University. A book review is helpful to position a particular book in the academic debate as it discusses pros and cons and is usually written by an academic who is knowledgeable in the field.

Tip: Since Google Scholar indexes mainly journal articles most results of a query on a book title, will be book reviews.