Three ways to make the most of Google Scholar’s ExCITATION plug-in

Luca Cacciolatti explains how to use Google’s ExCITATION journal-ranking tool, which can help researchers quickly identify relevant and high-quality sources

Luca Cacciolatti's avatar
16 Jun 2023
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Digital innovations have revolutionised the education sector, offering a wealth of benefits to students and educators alike. With the integration of technology into education, students can access a range of resources and tools that enhance their learning experiences, such as interactive digital textbooks, online research databases and e-learning platforms. Educators can create engaging lessons, personalise learning and collaborate with other educators and students from around the world. Additionally, digital technologies have also made education more accessible, enabling students to learn from anywhere, at any time and at their own pace. And the edtech industry now also has solutions for researchers.

In the world of academic research, finding and evaluating relevant sources is a crucial step towards producing high-quality work. With the vast amount of information available online, it can be challenging to sift through the noise and locate sources that are not only relevant but also trustworthy. This is where ExCITATION, Google Scholar’s journal-ranking plug-in, comes in handy. This digital innovation allows researchers to sort sources by citations, SJR citeScore, preview abstracts and even use a traffic-light system to indicate high-quality sources. In this blog, I will explore three ways to make the most of this free tool and improve the quality of your research and your students’ coursework.

Tip 1: Sort studies by citations

Sorting sources by citations is a great way to quickly identify high-impact research. This feature allows researchers to identify the most-cited articles and journals in their fields, providing insight into the most influential studies and publications. Sorting by citations can also help researchers identify gaps in the literature and provide a starting point for further research.

Practical example: let’s say you’re conducting research on the impact of social media on mental health. By sorting sources by citations, you can quickly identify the most influential studies in the field, such as The Relationship between Social Media Use and Mental Health* by Lin and Huang, which has been cited more than 1,000 times. By reviewing the most-cited articles, you can identify key themes and topics that have been extensively researched and areas where more research is needed.


Tip 2: Sort studies by SJR citeScore

SJR citeScore is a metric that measures the impact and influence of a journal by considering the number of citations received and the prestige of the citing journals. Sorting sources by SJR citeScore can help researchers identify the most reputable and influential journals in their fields.

Practical example: suppose you’re looking for a journal to publish your research on the impact of social media on environmental sustainability. By sorting sources by SJR citeScore, you can identify high-impact journals in your field, such as the International Journal of Environmental and Social Sustainability*, which has an SJR citeScore of 9.174. Publishing your research in a high-impact journal can increase the visibility and impact of your work and enhance your professional reputation.

Tip 3: Preview abstracts and make use of a traffic-light system

This feature allows researchers to quickly evaluate the relevance and quality of sources before investing time in reading the full article. The traffic-light system uses colour-coded icons to indicate the quality of the source, with green indicating high-quality sources, light green and yellow indicating medium-quality sources, and deep amber indicating low-quality sources.

Practical example: let’s say you’re looking for sources on the impact of social media on mental health. By previewing the abstracts and using the traffic-light system, you can quickly identify relevant and high-quality sources, such as The Impact of Social Media on the Purchasing Habits of Influencers: A Systematic Review* by O’Jarle and Kirkis, which has a green icon, indicating high quality. You can also quickly filter out irrelevant or low-quality sources, such as The Impact of Social Media on Weather Pattern Identification in the Tundra* by Richardson, which has a deep amber icon, indicating low quality.

In conclusion, digital innovations can provide researchers and students with valuable tools to improve their research and coursework. By following the tips outlined above, researchers can improve the quality and relevance of their research, save time and resources and stay up to date with the latest research in their field. Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or just starting out, ExCITATION journal ranking for Google Scholar is an excellent free tool that can help you find the best sources for your work and enhance the impact of your research.

*All examples in this blog are fictitious.

Luca Cacciolatti is a reader in innovation and marketing at the University of Westminster, UK.

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