General search

Please note: This page refers to both Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic general searches.

For important background information, see:

Tip: For many additional use cases relating to general searches see the Publish or Perish Tutorial.

How to perform a Microsoft Academic general search

To perform a Google Scholar search:

  1. Enter the relevant parameters in the various fields (see Microsoft Academic query for an explanation of each parameter);
  2. Click Lookup or press the Enter key.

The program will now contact Microsoft Academic to obtain the citations, process the list, and calculate the citation metrics, which are then displayed in the results list. The full list of results is also available for inspection or modifications and can be exported in a variety of formats.

For most general searches Microsoft Academic will provide better results than Google Scholar. If for instance you want to find out what a particular author has published in a particular journal or what a particular journal publishes on a specific topic, Microsoft Academic will give you a quick and clean result. This is also true for targeted literature reviews. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Microsoft Academic doesn't have a limit for the number of results. Hence you can instruct Publish or Perish to return more than 1000 results by changing the maximum number of result per query in the preferences.
  2. As a default option Microsoft Academic searches for specified keywords only in the title and abstract (rather than the whole article). This will generally present you with a more accurate result.
  3. Unlike Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic doesn't suffer from truncation. Hence, using PoP5's new option to export bibliographic details, you can simply select the relevant references and your desired referencing format to copy the exact references.

How to perform a Google Scholar search

To perform a Google Scholar search:

  1. Enter the relevant parameters in the various fields (see Google Scholar query for an explanation of each parameter);
  2. Click Lookup or press the Enter key.

The program will now contact Google Scholar to obtain the citations, process the list, and calculate the Citation metrics, which are then displayed in the Results pane. The full list of results is also available for inspection or modifications and can be exported in a variety of formats.

The General search can be used for instance to:

Important note

A general citation query gives access to all the query fields of an Advanced Scholar Search, accessible through a separate link on the Google Scholar home page. This is not the same as a standard Google Scholar search (i.e., from the Google Scholar home page).

A standard Google Scholar search is equivalent to performing an All of the words query, which matches the search terms anywhere in the searched documents (author, title, source, abstract, references etc.) and usually provides too many irrelevant results for an effective citation analysis. Hence it is normally recommended to use a more specific query; see Author search, Journal search, and General search.

However, if you do want to get the same results in Publish or Perish as with a standard Google Scholar search, do the following.

  1. Empty all text fields except All of the words.
  2. Enter your query terms in the All of the words field.
  3. Set the Year of publication fields both to 0.
  4. Clear the Title words only field.
  5. Click on Lookup.
  6. When the results appear, click on the Rank column header to sort the results in the order in which Google Scholar returned them.

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