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Making the most of Google Scholar: Home

A quick guide to help you make the most of Google Scholar.


Google Scholar is an online, freely accessible search engine for locating scholarly literature.  From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search


To make the most of searching Google Scholar, you can adjust the settings of this search engine.

By adjusting your settings you will give yourself the best chance of finding full text materials when searching on Google Scholar.

Additional Information

If you would like to find out more see the help section of Google Scholar.

Search tips

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


Use the 'Site:' operator to limit your searches to websites from a particular domain, e.g. academic websites.

This can boost your chances of identifying full-text papers.

For example, adding to the end of your search will limit it to UK university websites. Similarly, adding site:edu will limit to US universities.

Example 'site:' operators

- (UK)

- site:edu (USA) (Australia)

- (India)

Go to the next tab to view an example of the 'site:' operator applied to a search.

How to change Google Scholar settings

First select Settings at the top of the screen. There is a menu to the left which you can work through.



Here you can adjust the amount of results you can get on the page from the default of 10 to 20 per page.

Bibliography manager – you can select your preferred referencing software - pull down the menu and select it from the list then save.

Here you can select to get your messages in other languages.

You can also filter your search results to only bring up pages in certain languages and save this.

Here you can choose the University of Exeter Library and if you find an article and the library has a subscription to that article then it will offer you a link from the search result.

To switch this on enter the University name and search for it:

This will then appear below:

You can add up to five libraries but you would need to have full electronic access to them for it to work.

Once you save these then you can go back to the search page and put in your search and see how it affects your results.

The difference it makes

So here we have done a very wide search for European history as an example. The links on the right next to the search results are there because either the article is open access and freely available on the web or because the library at the University of Exeter has a subscription to it.

So if we try the article "Frequency of word-use predicts rates of lexical evolution throughout Indo-European history" and click on the link to the right which is called [HTML] from

You will see it take you to the article and it does tell you there that it is appearing full text because the University of Exeter subscribes to Nature.

It may ask you to login using your University login and password the first time you are in your internet searching session but then it will remember after this.



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