Google Scholar

Google Scholar is like Google’s search engine, but it’s designed for scientific literature. We’ll walk you through how to use it and share some key things to keep in mind.

One important thing to remember: Google Scholar doesn’t check the quality of the documents it lists. So, you might stumble upon materials that don’t quite match the scientific standards we follow at WU. That’s why it’s smart to carefully check the reliability of each document.

When should I use Google Scholar?

When you’re aiming to get a big-picture view of a wide topic, Google Scholar can be a handy tool. But if you want to dive deep into specific aspects of a subject, don’t forget to explore the the subject databases we offer.

Google Scholar is also an excellent choice when you’re hunting for articles that you already know by title or author. It works like a charm when you’re logged into the WU network (on campus or using VPN) because it lets you quickly check if the WU library has what you need.

Where do the documents listed in Google Scholar come from?

Google does not reveal which sources it includes in its searches and which ones it leaves out. The only way to find out is to use a variety of search tools and compare the results.

As the origin of these results can be a bit of a mystery, it’s up to you to decide how trustworthy each source is. One tricky part is that bibliographic data from various sources are automatically combined. That can lead to incomplete or even flat-out wrong information. For instance, an author’s name might pop up in all kinds of spellings or abbreviations. So, our advice? Try searching with different versions of the author’s name.

How does Google conduct its search? How does Google sort results?

Did you ever wonder how Google works its magic when you hit that search button? Well, there’s not much information out there, but here’s what we do know. Google assesses the search results based on the number of links from other web pages that point to the item and the perceived importance or influence of those pages. This process relies on the PageRank algorithm. In Google Scholar, they also count how many times a document gets cited in other scientific sources.

Now, here’s the thing: if a web page doesn’t seem all that important, it might end up way down the list of results. But that doesn’t mean the information is not good. This can be a bit tricky, especially when you’re on the hunt for those not-so-mainstream topics.

Do I have to pay for articles?

Sometimes, when you’re eager to read an article, the website that has it might ask you to pay up. But hold on – before you reach for your wallet, here’s a smart move: make sure that Google Scholar is connected to the University Library’s collection using those library links.

Here’s how to set it up: Click on Settings in the top left menu, then select Library links. Next, add WU Wien – Full Text via WU library. Additionally, you can also include The Austrian Union Catalog – Austrian Union Catalog to see results from other Austrian libraries.

In the “Library links” tabs in the settings of Google Scholar, the options “WU Wien – Full text via WU library” and “The Austrian Union Catalog” are checked and active.

By doing this, you’ll be able to spot which results you can access for free through the WU Library or other Austrian libraries. Just remember to stay connected to the WU network, whether you’re hanging out on the WU campus or using VPN).

Because Google Scholar’s data is not only consistent, it’s also a good idea to double-check if you can find the article you’re after through the University Library’s databases and journals. If that’s not in the cards, don’t worry – you can use WU’s own document delivery service to order the article.

Searching with Google Scholar

The drop-down menu on the top left of Google Scholar is open, the link to the advanced search is visible and highlighted.

The Google Scholar homepage bears a striking resemblance to the standard Google search engine. You have two options: you can utilize the quick search, which features a simple search box, or you can opt for the advanced search. To access the advanced search, head to the menu in the top left corner of the page.

Advanced search of Google Scholar. The field “with all the words” contains “rural”, the field “with the exact phrase” contains “road safety”, the field “with at least one of the words” contains “settlement village”, the field “return articles dated between” contains “2012 – 2023”

After that, you can keep refining your search results using the filters on the left side. On the right, you’ll find information about how to get your hands on that document. When you see labels like Full Text via WU Library alongside your search result, it means you can access the article through WU.

Keep in mind that Google Scholar doesn’t cover all the sources at the University Library. So, even if you don’t spot your document in Google Scholar, it’s wise to double-check the WU CatalogPLUS to make sure that the article you’re after isn’t hiding there.

The search results of the query shown in the image above. The links “Search in WU library” and “Full text via WU library” are highlighted.

Which search operators can I use?

In Google scholar you can combine multiple search operators to refine your search.



This excludes .pdf files from your search results.

„leading style“ OR „leading behavior“ management intitle:team

By using this search string, you can locate documents that include the phrases leading style and/or leading behavior, along with the word management at any position in the text. Plus, the word team must be in the document’s title.

Below, you’ll find a table with a range of search operators to choose from.

“…”“leading styles”To search for an exact phrase, put your search terms in quotation marks.
filetypefiletype:pdfThe hits should have a certain file format, e.g. pdf.
intitleintitle:road safetyThe search terms should appear in the title of the document.
sitesite:.eduThe results should only come from a specific website. It is also possible to restrict to parts of the URL, such as .edu or .org.
authorauthor:zimmermanThe hits should have a specific author.
ORleading style OR leading behaviorUse OR to search for documents containing one or both of the above search terms.
-competitionWith the use of the minus sign, hits containing this word will be excluded.
++andFrequently occurring words, letters or numbers, are usually not included in the search by Google. Use the + sign to incorporate the specified word in the search.