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Google Scholar: Searching Tips

What is Google Scholar? Using Google Scholar, how can you locate scholarly articles, link to articles through Copley Library, and find out how many times articles were cited?

Google Operators

The following are a selected list of helpful operators to use when searching in Google Scholar:

“” – use quotations to indicate a specific phrase search, such as “no child left behind”

- use an asterisk as a whole word wildcard – Google Scholar searches for the missing word in a phrase search  Ex. “bird in * is worth two in *”

+ - use the plus sign to include initial articles that would otherwise be ignore.  Ex. "+a priori"

- - use a hyphen immediately in front of a word or phrase that should be excluded from your search results.  Ex. obesity -childhood

author: - use to find a particular author in your search results. Ex. qualitative analysis author:donmoyer

filetype: - use to specify that your results must be a specific filetype  Ex. flu vaccine filetype:pdf

intext:  specify that your results must include a word or phrase in the body of the result.  Ex. doping “major league baseball” intext:congress

intitle: specify that your results must include a word or phrase in the title of the result.  Ex.  alaska intitle:superfund

allintext:  search for multiple words in the body of the text.  Results must have all the query words in the body of the text.  This type of search is more comprehensive than intext: because it is searching for several concepts. Ex. allintext:autism vaccine controversy

Boolean Commands

AND – the Boolean command AND is automatically implied in Google Scholar unless you use quotations or another operator to instruct the search. Ex. "weapons of mass destruction" chemical nuclear will include reference to chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction in the results.

OR – the Boolean command OR should be used when you want to indicate that your search results can include one concept or another one.  You must put the command in all caps.  Otherwise, it will be ignored. Ex. "weapons of mass destruction" Iraq OR Syria will include results having reference to either Iraq or Syria.

NOT – The NOT Boolean command is ignored if spelled out.  To exclude a word from your search, you must use a hyphen immediately in front of the word. Ex. "weapons of mass destruction" –chemical will exclude reference to chemical in the results.

Advanced Searching

Google Scholar offers an Advanced Search screen from the Google Scholar homepage by using the top-left dropdown menu.

Automatic Stemming

Some library databases require you to use a symbol with the stem of a word (truncating the word) to search all forms of the word (ex. psycholog* will search psychology, psychologist, psychological, etc.)

Google Scholar automatically expects you to want that kind of searching for simple truncation, like plural forms of a search, and does the stemming for you.  However, Google Scholar results can be unpredictable for more complicated truncation.  Consequently, for best results, you may want to add additional terms to your search using an "OR" boolean operator between the terms for anything beyond simple truncation.  For example, psychologist OR psychology OR psychological.

Regardless, when you search in Google Scholar, you should use the complete word and do not try to truncate.