What is "Impact Factor" - and why does that matter?
The phrase "impact factor" is the term used to"measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period." More generally, we use "impact factor" to describe the relative prestige of a journal or a scholar within a field of study.
Where does Google Scholar fit in?
You can use Google Scholar Metrics to view the impact a particular journal has. This is helpful especially when you are evaluating the sources you discover in the research process. Did you find an article, but are unfamiliar with the journal it was published in? Check to see where it ranks in Google Scholar Metrics to get a better understanding of its impact.
So... how does Google Scholar Metrics figure out the impact factor?
Google Scholar Metrics uses a few different indexes to measure the impact factor of journals. It displays a combination of the follow indexes to convey the specific impact factor for a given journal title:
Google Scholar displays the h5-index and the h5-median for each included publication. For more information on their metrics, you can check their page here.
Searching in Metrics:
When you search in Google Scholar Metrics, you will see a list of publications with their corresponding h5 index and h5 median numbers. The higher the index and median value, the higher the impact factor that the given journal title has. See the screenshot below:
Did you find an article, or book chapter that is perfect for your research?
Check the sources that the author cited to learn more about the topic!
As you dive into your research, you are finding knowledge materials that will help you build your "product" - the scholars and authors that you discover in the process have done the same thing as you. You can use the sources that they have analyzed for your own research purposes.
For more information about searching by citation, take a look at our Citation Searching Guide to learn more!
Searching for citations is one thing, staying organized is another...
Whether you live for a detailed list, or you're more of a "I have a Google doc for that," there are many tools to help you stay organized.
Try these if you need a citation on the fly:
BibMe is a free citation generator developed at Carnegie Mellon University that produces citations and bibliographies in APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian styles. It has some features not found in other free citation generators, such as autofill and the ability to switch between citation styles.
Citation Machine is a free site that automatically produces MLA, APA, Turabian or Chicago style citations for a variety of sources (but not bibliographies). Users can copy and paste citations into Word. It was developed by David Warlick, an educator.
KnightCite is a free site that automatically produce MLA, APA, or Chicago style citations for 25 types of sources.
From the Hekman Library at Calvin College.
Citation generators and management tools are great, but you are responsible for your citations. Be sure to double check the guidelines for the citation style you're using, and if you're not sure - just ask!