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Library Orientation for Nursing

This information was developed for nurses conducting research via the Emory Libraries

About Google Scholar

Why Use Google Scholar?

  • It is an excellent source for grey literature (unpublished or non-commercial materials, such as pre-prints, white papers, government reports, data, and articles not indexed in PubMed or other databases.)
  • More records than any other source.
  • Offers the most current voices on topics outside of academia
  • Results can be used to supplement database searches

Be Aware When Searching Google Scholar:

  • Proprietary algorithm ranks searches by most cited, aka ‘popular’
  • Limit to number of words in a search
  • Results are not replicable in later searches
  • Indexed by machines, not humans
  • Word order counts. Put keywords in order of importance   
  • Word choice counts. Be precise with your keywords; Google filters out common terms like, 'for', 'the', 'with', etc.
  • Google searches are not case sensitive
  • Google Scholar is a search engine, not a database


Google uses your search history to provide relevant results.  To decrease bias based on your search history:

  • Delete search history if signed into Google
  • Delete cookies and tracking history
  • Use “Private Browser” mode, aka Incognito mode

What they say

"Google Scholar aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature."

Google Scholar Library Link

If you use Google Scholar, set up the Find it @ Emory link so you’ll have direct access to the PDF.


Advanced Google Searching

Use Search Operators

Alternative Search Engines