Skip to Main Content

How To: Find Sources

Use the tabs below to find information and links on finding different types of sources.

Google Scholar

If you can't find information on your topic using the library databases, try this more scholarly version of google that limits the search results primarily to journal articles. 

Google Scholar Search

Articles in Google Scholar

Google Scholar returns articles from a wide variety of databases; two of the major ones that are included are JSTOR and Taylor & Francis.

JSTOR is a subscription based database, but allows individuals access to up to 100 articles, per month, with a free account. 

Taylor & Francis is a subscription based database that has both open-access (free) and subscription-access articles; in order to find out which one a particular article is, scroll down to the access options to view the various options.

To see the source of an article, book, or publication, look to the right and below the title. 

You can also click on the related articles link to see other articles with similar subject matter or on the cited by link to see works that have cited the article in question. While not an exact science, articles that have been cited many times generally indicates that it is an important piece of research.

Tutorials: Google Scholar

The following tutorial from Niche Academy and Utah State University provides a general demonstration of using the Google Scholar database.


This tutorial from Niche Academy and Utah State University provides an overview of how to use Google Scholar, including locating materials, accessing full-text articles, and how to properly cite the sources you find.

Expand or Narrow Your Search

While all search engines and databases have their own search abilities and guidelines, we have compiled some of the more common ways to customize your search results in Google Scholar.

Site Specification

To return results from a specific type of site, you can tell the search engine what kind of domain suffix you are interested in finding information through, such as .gov (government sites), .edu (educational sites), or .com (commercial sites), etc. To do this, type site:gov, site:edu, or site:com after your search terms. 

Boolean Operators

Exact Words or Phrases

Put exact words and/or phrases you want in quotes. 
Example: Searching for "biological anthropology" will return results that specifically use that phrase, whereas searching for biological anthropology will return results containing either or both of those terms and those containing the exact phrase.

Using OR, AND, NOT and/or parentheses to combine or exclude keywords in your search

Use OR if there is more than one term that may be applicable and you want results for either of them
Example: "biological anthropology" OR "physical anthropology" will return results that contain either of these phrases

Use AND to combine terms that you want to search; the results will include items with both terms
Example: "biological anthropology" AND forensics will return results that contain both biological anthropology and forensics; it will exclude any that do not mention both

NOT (or -)
Using NOT or a minus sign before the word(s) you don't want will tell the search function to look for results with the first word but will exclude any that contain the second one.
Example: "biological anthropology" NOT forensics will return results for biological anthropology and will exclude any that mention forensics

Parentheses ()
Use parentheses to separate search term strings; similarly to how math problems are done, everything within the parentheses is separated from the rest of the terms.
Example: ("biological anthropology" OR "physical anthropology") AND forensics will search for biological anthropology and forensics as well as physical anthropology and forensics

Number or Date Ranges

Ranges (..)
Number and date ranges can also be specified by putting two periods (..) between the numbers (including their unit of measure, if relevant), such as $150.00..$300.00 to return results showing those dollar ranges or 2001..2021 for results spanning those years.

Wildcard/Truncation Symbol

If you are looking for information about a keyword that may have alternate or multiple suffixes (for example: act, active, activate, activation), you can search for all of the options by adding what is called a wildcard symbol (? or *). If you search for act? or act*, it will return results for act, active, activate, activation, etc. If one option doesn't work, try the other; Google recognizes both, but not all search engines do. This technique can definitely be helpful, but be aware it may produce too many results.