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Course & Subject Guides

Google Scholar

Use this guide to learn about maximizing Google Scholar for your research.

Google Scholar Search Tips

Use operators to refine your search terms. Google Scholar also supports most of the advanced operators in Google web search:

  • the "-" operator excludes all results that include this search term, as in [biomedicine -magnetic]
  • phrase search only returns results that include this exact phrase, as in ["as you like it"]
  • the "~" operator will find synonyms for that word, as in [~robotics]
  • the "OR" operator returns results that include either of your search terms, as in [soccer OR football]
  • the "intitle:" operator as in [intitle:mars] only returns results that include your search term in the document's title
  • the "author" operator [author:flowers] returns papers written by people with the name Flowers, whereas [flowers -author:flowers] returns papers about flowers, and ignores papers written by people with the name Flowers
  • using quotes around a common word makes sure your results include common words, letters or numbers that Google's search technology generally ignores, as in ["the" border]

Searching by Author, Journal, or Phrase

Enter one or more names in the "Return articles authored by" box to search for specific authors.

  • Use quotation marks when searching for a first name or initials along with the last name to ensure all will appear in the same name.     "michael w collins"      "m w collins"
  • Enter initials with or without a space between them.     "m w collins"     "mw collins"
  • The order of the first and last name makes little difference to the search.                                      "michael collins"      "collins michael"

To return results from a particular journal or publication, enter the publication title as either:

  • full title:                 Nature                  Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • abbreviation:       J Biol Chem        Rev Educ Res

Note:  Journal titles may be abbreviated in more than one way. Searching abbreviations will not return records with the full title, and vice versa. To be thorough, search both the full title and alternative forms of abbreviation:

  • J Am Chem Soc ;  J Amer Chem Soc  ;  Journal of the American Chemical Society  ;   JACS
  • Entering terms in the "with the exact phrase" box will search for the phrase exactly as it was entered.
  • Use quotation marks in any other box to specify an exact phrase you want to search for or exclude.

Automatic Related Term Searching

Google Scholar automatically searches for simple singular and plural forms of terms you enter, along with additional different endings to some words, and for some related terms.  For example:

  • sport   returns     sport ;  sports
  • diet     returns       diet ;  diets ;  dietary
  • woman  may return   woman  or  woman ;  women ;  female

The number of related terms included in the results may depend on the search being conducted. This feature cannot be turned off, and there is no separate truncation search that allows the user to designate that a term should be searched with any possible ending.