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I understand that Google Scholar searches only journals, academic publishers, etc. Does that mean that Google will always include the results of Google Scholar?

If Google searches the entire web, which also include the results of Google Scholar, then why not just use Google and then manually sift through the results to find the most appropriates for a use case, in case that using Google Scholar misses something that Google doesn't?

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    Because I'd need a bigger shovel to move all those hits...
    – Jon Custer
    Jul 10, 2023 at 22:07
  • 'If Google searches the entire web...' It doesn't. That's the actual answer.
    – lly
    Jul 11, 2023 at 21:26

6 Answers 6

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Does that mean that Google will always include the results of Google Scholar?

Expectedly, yes. However, what you get isn't the same experience. If there're academic results from your Google search, you'll mostly see

'Scholarly articles for "... search strings ..."'

followed by the 'clickable bar'

'Search on Google Scholar'.

Invariably, Google expects you to do your academic search in Google Scholar.

If Google searches the entire web, which also include the results of Google Scholar, then why not just use Google and then manually sift through the results to find the most appropriates for a use case

This will depend on your search strategy and the type of review you're doing.
If your review/survey include grey literature, this is a plausible approach. Be ready to sift out lotta baggages and contend with reproducibility.

Are you interested in gold or dust?

PS: you mentioned and perhaps we should ask 'what is your use case'


Since we do not know why you have to use Google, perhaps we might want to recommend (re) visiting your review strategy and take it from there.

Okoli, C., & Schabram, K. (2015). A guide to conducting a systematic literature review of information systems research.

Okoli, C. (2015). A guide to conducting a standalone systematic literature review. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 37.

Watson, R. T. (2015). Beyond being systematic in literature reviews in IS. Journal of Information Technology, 30, 185-187.

Halevi, G., Moed, H., & Bar-Ilan, J. (2017). Suitability of Google Scholar as a source of scientific information and as a source of data for scientific evaluation—Review of the literature. Journal of informetrics, 11(3), 823-834.

You might even need to do studies that 'scrap' data from Google or Google Scholar. It depends on your research aim. See for instance

Watts, L. K., Wagner, J., Velasquez, B., & Behrens, P. I. (2017). Cyberbullying in higher education: A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 268-274.

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Yes and no. Searching for journal articles through Google sounds reasonable, but it might not shake out the way you'd expect. The Google algorithm is opaque and has gotten worse over the years. Just look at the first page of any search, half of it is sponsored sites right off the bat. On top of that, Google doesn't actually display every single search result (Google Scholar notably only returns the first ~1000 hits, Google has some similar arbitrary limitation). So it's not like you could manually click through every single one of the

About 5,340,000,000 results (0.65 seconds)

anyway. Google will also not necessarily return the same results every time the same search term is entered. The list of issues goes on and on.

That is all to say, out of the several hundred or thousand results you capture on Google (and can actually access) a small portion would be academic sources you are interested in. Thus, if you are searching that sort of literature, you need to limit your search. And this is ignoring the issue of sifting through the worthless hits if you did have access to the full results.

You might ask if you can use clever search terms to restrict a regular Google search to the same domains as a Google Scholar search. Unfortunately, Google just does not support complex search terms and it often does not respect its own rules anyway. So you could try, but I suspect it would be unreliable at best.

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    Google [...] often does not respect its own rules anyway --- I often find this occurring when I'm doing google searches to uncover little known information, the kind of google searches I describe in the middle of this answer. Specifically, sometimes when I get only 2 or 3 hits for something, if I ADD an additional search term, then I'll get a greater number hits, contradicting the basic logic rule that P & Q implies P. And not just a greater number of hits, but the original hits are often among the larger collection of hits. Jul 11, 2023 at 8:46
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As in @JonCuster's comment, a simple "Google search" will include tons of garbage.

On the other hand, "Google Scholar" will only include things that fit into a certain commercial concept. So you'd miss a lot of things... depending on your field, of course.

"The problem" is that the most assertive search gadgets are significantly commercialized, so have at best a conflict of interest, but, at worst, an agenda to ignore/omit things/people that aren't sending them money.

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    I don't get the "commercial" part here. Care to elaborate? I would assume normal Google would be more commercial
    – justhalf
    Jul 12, 2023 at 3:32
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    @justhalf, well, yes, normal Google is quite commercial in its own way, but Google Scholar is entangled with for-profit publishers and behind-paywall stuff... so that, apart from the money aspects, it does not index most published-on-the-internet stuff by (for example) mathematicians at respected universities. So it has limited use for me in that regard. Jul 12, 2023 at 16:52
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    Paul; how are those papers by mathematicians at respected universities being published so that Scholar doesn’t see them? Jul 16, 2023 at 0:47
  • @BrianBorchers, on their web pages, for example. Jul 16, 2023 at 20:43
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If Google searches the entire web, which also include the results of Google Scholar, then why not just use Google and then manually sift through the results to find the most appropriates for a use case, in case that using Google Scholar misses something that Google doesn't?

I don't think "miss" is would be the right word, but I've noticed a lag. For an n=1, I've noticed that Google Scholar takes a few days (up to a week) to index my new articles whereas the articles appear within a day or so on Google and often quicker on ResearchGate and ORCDID. I suspect some journals directly feed updates to ResearchGate and ORCDID.

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Manually sifting through results is work. If you already know that you want articles from academic journals, then there is no reason to create additional work for yourself discarding search hits that aren't journals.

On top of that, Google Scholar has search options that take advantage of the structured information in the articles. You can search for particular authors, limit the search to words in the article title, filter to certain publication years (not necessarily the same as the date on the web page, especially for older articles), and so on. You can also search for articles that cite a particular article, which is difficult, if not impossible, to do with regular Google.

In other words, Google Scholar is a specialized tool tailored to the needs of academic researchers. If you happen to be in that target audience, then Google Scholar is going to make it a lot easier and more convenient to find the kinds of results you are looking for.

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Among other things, Google scholar has search tools that allow you to refine searches by fields available in bibliographic data bases. This is better than what regular google offers. Let's say I was looking for an article published between 2000-2005. Try to do that in google.

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  • Ok. Done.
    – lly
    Jul 11, 2023 at 21:24
  • 2
    @ily isn't that for page creation date? That's substantially different from publication date, especially for older papers. Jul 11, 2023 at 23:32
  • Yep, the method proposed by @lly completely fails for older work (e.g., try searching for "quantum mechanics" between 1920 and 1930). Worse, the date filter in google search filters on last update, so it can fail for more recent work too if the paper's landing page for the paper gets updated from time to time (say, by changing the links to related work).
    – Nobody
    Jul 12, 2023 at 14:25

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