Skip to Main Content

Researching with "Google": Advanced Searching

Improve your searching by learning tricks of the trade using advanced features of Google Scholar.

Search Operator Quick Reference

Operators are just one way to make Google searches more specific. Many of these operators are comparable to fields on the Advanced Search page. Whether you use operators or Advanced Search is a matter of personal preference. You can find additional operators here.

-  (minus sign)  

Remove terms from search. For example: dessert idea -cookiesThe minus sign is equivalent to the "none of these words" field on the Advanced Search page.

" " (quotation marks)

Find words in search as a phrase. This works well if words don't often occur together, i.e. "librarian superpowers". Use quotes to find a specific version of a word. For example, searching for "biological" will eliminate related words such as biology from your search. The quotation marks are equivalent to the "this exact word or phrase" field on the Advanced Search page.


Joining words together with OR will search for the presence of either word on a page. For example: dessert (cookies OR cupcakes). Using OR is equivalent to the "any of these words" field on the Advanced Search page. 

* (asterisk)

The asterisk acts as a place holder for missing words if you only have a partial phrase or title. For example: database * systems or an * a day keeps the * awayNo equivalent field exists on the Advanced Search page.


The site: operator allows you to search for pages within a specific domain (i.e. .edu or .gov) or within a specific website (i.e. When searching, make sure there is no space between the operator and your term. For example: calendar This operator is equivalent to the "site or domain" field on the Advanced Search page.


The intext: operator allows you to make sure a specific term appears on each page in your search results. For example: library building intext:design will find only pages about library buildings that mention design. No equivalent field exists on the Advanced Search page.

Advanced Search

Step 1

Google advanced search step 1

Advanced search is not linked from Google's main search screen. Do a basic search first, then click on the gear icon  for the advanced search option.

Step 2

Google advanced search part 2

Enter additional terms to make your search more specific. Once you are ready, press the Advanced Search button to see your search results.