Finding Scholarly Articles using Google Scholar
BIS 306: Marine Diversity and Conservation
· Use Google Scholar to find articles for your research paper
· Identify appropriate search terms.
· Configure Google Scholar to show which search results may be available from the UW Libraries.
Part 1. Brainstorming Search Terms
The search terms you choose will impact the number and kinds of articles you find. Take a few minutes to brainstorm search terms. Try using both the common and scientific names. Think about how you might combine search terms using AND and OR, use quotes “” to search for an exact phrase and the asterisk * as a wildcard to find multiple variations of a search term. wildcard . Remember, when using OR it must be capitalized. Otherwise Google will think it’s just another search term.
(seabirds OR “marine birds”) and habitat
geograph* = geography, geographic, geographical, geographically
“body mass” OR biomass
“pacific northwest” OR washington OR oregon
You might not use all of the search terms you’ve identified, but having a variety to choose from may help you refine your search and get better results.
1. Which of the two searches below would result in a narrower search (fewer search results)? Why?
seabirds OR distribution seabirds AND distribution
Part 2: Searching Google Scholar
Before you begin searching, you should change the settings in Google Scholar to show you which of your search results may be available from the UW Libraries. Remember, not everything you find in Google Scholar is free, but if it’s available from the UW Libraries it will always be free.
Google Scholar search box with “marine protected areas” and seabirds as search terms.
Viewing Your Search Results
Google Scholar citation with red rectangle around the star icon, the quote icon, Cited by, and Related articles.
· If you’re logged into your Google account, you can Save citations to My Library by clicking on the star icon.
· Click the quote ” icon to view options for citing your article, including options for APA, MLA, CSE and more.
· “Cited by” links to a list of sources that cite your article.
· To find articles similar to yours, click “Related articles”.
Now, search for articles about seabirds and marine protected areas.
2. What are the exact search terms you used, including any quotations or asterisks (*)?
3. How many search results did you get?
4. Based on the titles of the articles and reading the abstracts, how many of them appear to be applicable to your paper topic? State the number of articles that appear to be applicable here: ________. Now copy and paste five of the titles below.
Refining Your Search Results
Google Scholar options for limiting your search by year and sorting by date.
You can refine or limit your search results using the options on the left side of the screen. You don’t have many options, but you can limit by year, including creating your own custom date range. If you want to see the most recent search results (mostly) at the top of the list, you can change the sort option to Sort by date. Otherwise, Sort by relevance will probably be most useful.
Searching Google Scholar Advanced Search
If you would like to explore additional search options, you can try Advanced search by clicking on the menu icon and selecting Advanced search.
image of google scholar menu options
Advanced Search allows you to search more easily by author, title, date and exact phrase.
Advanced Search options for Google Scholar
Not everything you find in Google Scholar will fit the definition of scholarly, so if you have any questions be sure to check with your instructor. For additional information, check out Google Scholar’s Search Tips.
Part 3: Finding articles for your research paper
Instructions: Now do a search for the real species and focused topic you plan to use for your Species Paper. Likely, it will be something you read about as you were looking for general information about your species. For example, perhaps your species has a unique foraging strategy, and you want to expand upon that, or perhaps you read about the significance of your species to indigenous people and you want to expand upon that.
It is important to note that not all topics have been well studied! It may be that when you do a search for your focused topic, you find very little information, or the information you do find does not seem to be particularly relevant to what you were hoping to discuss. You may need to do several searches before you find both a refined topic of interest to you AND one that seems to have relevant information.
5. What species and focused topic are you planning to do for your project?
6. Do a search for that topic. What are the exact search terms you used, including any quotations or asterisks (*)?
7. How many search results did you get?
8. Copy and paste the titles of ten articles that are applicable to your topic below. Make sure you read the abstracts of each to help you decide. Include a sentence or two for each article explaining how it relates to your topic and why you chose it.
Not finding what you’re looking for? Email Rob Estes at email@example.com. You can also contact any of the reference librarians by phone, email, in person or our 24/7 chat reference service. Find out more on our Ask Us a Question page.