Why are my search results different in Discover compared to Google Scholar?

We recommend using Discover and resources via your Subject guides. However, Google Scholar can also provide access to resources which aren't as comprehensive (as it will not include all subscription based journals or ebooks), but does offer a familiar interface.

There will be large differences if you undertake the same search in Discover and Google Scholar, at first glance Google Scholar may be returning more relevant results - this is because:

  • Scholar uses Google based AI including predicting next words in a sequence
  • Scholar is better at parsing (breaking down) searches
  • Discover is reliant on keyword searching to search databases/holdings
  • Scholar is also likely doing full-text article searching, which will bring up more results
  • Scholar is probably using search history/cookies, so will be able to display results that seem to be more relevant up higher
  • Discover returns better results when using phrasal searching, eg putting a search in quotation marks - Scholar is effective without

Please contact your Academic Librarian Team if you are unsure and if you need help finding appropriate resources.

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