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Google Scholar: an Introduction to Google Scholar: Google Scholar Search Tips

Use this guide to help you begin your research using the search engine Google Scholar!


1.     Author search is one of the most effective ways to find a specific paper. If you know who wrote the paper you're looking for, you can simply add their last name to your search terms.

For example:
The search [friedman regression] returns papers on the subject of regression written by people named Friedman. If you want to search on an author's full name, or last name and initials, enter the name in quotes: ["jh friedman"].

2.     When a word is both a person's name and a common noun, you might want to use the "author:" operator. This operator only affects the search term that immediately follows it, and there must be no space between "author:" and your search term.

For example:
[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 (a minus in front of a search term excludes results that contain this search term).

3.     You may use the operator with an author's full name in quotes to further refine your search. Try to use initials rather than full first names, because some sources indexed in Google Scholar only provide the initials.

For example:
To find papers by Donald E. Knuth, you could try [author:"d knuth"], [author:"de knuth"], or [author:"donald e knuth"].


1.     Date-restricted searches can be effective when you're looking for the latest developments in a given area.

The dropdown menu labeled anytime, which is available on all search results pages, allows you to limit the search to commonly used recent periods.

The Advanced Scholar Search page allows you to restrict your search to other periods.  Click on the down arrow in the search field to access the Advanced Scholar Search page.

For example:
Here's how you'd search for articles on superconducting films that were published since 2004:


2.     Bear in mind, however, that some web sources don't include publication dates, and a date-restricted search will not return articles for which Google Scholar was unable to determine a date of publication. So if you're sure that an article about superconducting films came out this year and a date-restricted search doesn't find it, retry the search without the date restriction.


(This option is only available on the Advanced Scholar Search page.)

1.     A publication-restricted

search only returns results with specific words from a specific publication.

For example:
If you want to search the Journal of Finance for articles about mutual funds, you might start like this:


2.     Keep in mind, however, that publication-restricted searches may be incomplete. Google Scholar gathers bibliographical data from many sources, including automatically extracting it from text and citations. This information may be incomplete or even incorrect; many preprints, for instance, don't say where (or even whether) the article was ultimately published.

In general, publication-restricted searches are effective if you're certain of what you're looking for, but they‘re often narrower than you might expect.

For instance:
You might find that a search across all publications for [mutual funds] gives more useful results than a more specific search for "funds" only in the Journal of Finance.

3.     Finally, bear in mind that one journal can be spelled several ways (e.g., Journal of Biological Chemistry is often abbreviated as J Biol Chem), so you may need to try several spellings of a given publication in order to get complete search results.

Additional Search Tips

Be specific for best results, e.g. photography during the civil war, not just civil war. 

Refining your search

After entering a search, use the facets on the left to narrow the results

  • target only peer-reviewed articles 
  • show only items with Full Text available online 
  • include/exclude newspaper articles, books, journal articles, and more
  • limit your results by date, language, format or subject

Expanding your search

  • Mark the facet on the left labeled "Add results beyond your library's collection" to search more places and include items not found in TCC Libraries.  For items not available in the TCC Libraries collections, "request item through ILL" to place an interlibrary loan request for the item.  
  • Wildcards (Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search.)
  •        The question mark (?) will match any one character and can be used to find “Olsen” or “Olson” by searching for “Ols?n.”
  •         The asterisk (*) will match zero or more characters within a word or at the end of a word. A search for “Ch*ter” would match “Charter,” “Character,” and “Chapter.”            When used at the end of a word, such as “Temp*,” it will match all suffixes “Temptation,” “Temple” and “Temporary.”                      
  • Include Similar Terms in the Search: Use the tilde (~) character at the end of a word to match words that look similar. When used on the term “Lead~” it will match “Wead,” “Veade,” and “Tead.” 


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