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Advanced Library Research Techniques: Advanced Google Scholar Search

This guide will help you improve your research skills and develop expertise in evaluating, comparing, and selecting reliable and credible sources of information.

Google Scholar Search

 

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Much of the time, a simple keyword search will help you find what you need. However, there are times when you may want to have more control over what your search does. You may want to control the publication date, search for results by a particular author or in a particular journal, give synonyms, or remove unwanted results. When you need to do this, the Advanced Scholar Search menu can help.

Notes About Searching

 

  • Autocorrect: Google often corrects our searches, and so does our phone when we text. Don't expect this from any database or even the catalog- make absolutely sure your query is free of typos.
  • Dashes, colons, semicolons, and other punctuation: Different databases and database providers treat special characters in different ways. Typically, the best thing to do is to remove special characters and replace with a space if needed.
  • Stop word(s): These are short words such as an, a, the, of, or, and. These words are so common that databases will not look at them when you are telling it to search. If you must use one to specify an exact title without finding other entries that have your main keywords, but in a different order or with different linking stop words, use quotation marks for the entire phrase.
    • To find a book called "Brains or Beauty" put the quotation around the whole phrase, i.e. "brains or beauty".
  • Capitalization: Capitalization is not read in any of our databases, so feel free to give your caps lock a break!

 

Video (Using Google Scholar CLIP) May 28, 2020

This tutorial explains how to use advanced features of Google Scholar.
Created by Michael Baird, Cooperative Library Instruction Project (CLIP)
Complete source files and other tutorials are available at the project website:
http://www.clipinfolit.org
This tutorial and all other CLIP materials fall under a Creative Commons license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/), feel free to share and remix as long as you attribute CLIP, do not use for commercial purposes, and offer your version under the same license.

Accessing Advanced Scholar

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  1. To pull up the Advanced Scholar Search menu, go to the regular Google Scholar search page.
  2. In the upper left corner of the page, click the button made of three horizontal lines to open a new menu. 
  3. Advanced Search should be the second to last option in the newly-opened menu. 

Advanced Google Search Features

The Advanced Scholar Search menu has eight ways of searching, organized into three broad sections. You are able to mix and match these different search options together.

The Advanced Scholar Search Menu

All / Exact Phrase / At Least One / Without

Helps you control the search words you are searching with.

  • Words typed into the first search bar will all be included in your result, but in no particular order, and often with intervening words. This is how a regular Google Scholar search works. 
  • Words typed into the second search bar will be searched as an exact phrase. Not only must all of those words be included in each results, they must be included together in the exact order you wrote them in.
    • You can also do this in the regular search bar by putting the words in quotes. Example:  "myocardial infarction" 
  • When words are typed into the third search bar, Google Scholar will give you any result that included at least one of those words. This can be a good way to incorporate synonyms or related ideas into your search. 
    • You can also do this in the regular search bar by putting "OR" in between your search words. Example: Missouri politics OR government
  • When words are typed into the fourth search bar, Google Scholar will only return results without those words. This can be useful if your results are cluttered with things that are not relevant to your search. 
    • You can also do this in the regular search bar by putting a minus sign (-) before a word. Example: Shakespeare -tragedies
Where My Words Occur

Controls where Google Scholar will look for your search words. 

  • Selecting "anywhere in the article" will likely turn up a larger number of results, because the search engine can look for your keywords in more places. This is the Google Scholar default. 
  • Selecting "in the title of the article" may help improve the relevance of your results, because if your keyword is in the title, it is likely more important to what the article is about.
Authored by/Published in/ Dated Between
  • The first search bar lets you search for results by a certain author
    • You can also do this in the regular search bar by putting "author:" before the author's name. Example: intersectionality author: Crenshaw
  • The second search bar lets you search for results in a particular scholarly journal. Google Scholar understands many common ways of abbreviating journal titles.
  • The last search tool lets you search for results from within a range of publication dates
    • You can also adjust this from the results page.