Advanced Searches for Field-Specific Terms in Google Scholar

  • By using Google Scholar’s advanced search function, you can find specific terminology to use in your manuscript

  • Search filters allow you to target exact phrases within specified journals

In this article, we will focus on the use of Google Scholar to identify field-specific conventions for broader terms which can be used differently across various fields. This type of advanced search makes use of Google Scholar’s more advanced filtering function.

As much as Google is a search engine for the internet, Google Scholar is for scholarly literature, journal articles, books, and dissertations. At the core, search results can provide the most commonly used terms in any academic publication. The distinction is the particular usage of that term in a specific research area. By using Google Scholar, you can narrow the search focus for specific usage types. Four particular functions are available in the advanced Google Scholar search designed for just this purpose. The functions are easily accessible through advanced search in the main search field. In the following, the field is accessible by clicking the Menu button , then Advanced search.

“with the exact phrase

The function allows you to specify an exact term or phrase. It is especially beneficial when searching for standard usage of a term in a particular research area. For example, the phrase “indication of” results in twice the number of listings as the phrase “indication for”. However, when used in the following search “indication of antibiotics” it produces less results than the phrase “indication for antibiotics.” By providing more context in the advanced search, you can better identify standard usage in the target search field.

 “with all of the words” / “without the words”

These filters provide the means to include or exclude search criteria resulting in a narrow search field. Referring to the previous example of “indication of/for antibiotics”, a new advanced search can be performed to restrict the search to Streptococcus-related research. Enter the exact phrase “indication of/for”, then add the term “Streptococcus” to the “with all of the words” field. The resulting search indicates that there is a greater number of results for Streptococcus research when the term “indication for” is included in the search criteria. This indicates that this particular term is the preferred usage in this context. Alternatively, the term “without the words” is used to exclude certain types of research.

“Return articles published in”

This search filter allows you to specifically indicate a journal name. A journal-specific search is often used when an author has already identified a target journal for publication. To ensure conformity to that journal’s guidelines and standards, the author may perform an advanced search to determine the journal’s terminology and phrase usage. For example, in a general “with the exact phrase” search, the phrases “experience in” and “experience with” tend to yield very similar search listings. But when adding the criteria “Return articles published in [British Medical Journal]” the number of results is near twice as many for “experience in”. The indication is that this phrase is much more widely used in the designated literature.

Further information related to advanced searching through Google Scholar is available for your use by contacting us here. If you have any comments or questions about this topic or any other topic, please email us.
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