You can begin by using a basic keyword search using the broadest and least limiting search terms to ensure you do not inadvertently exclude relevant publications.
To do this, start with your most basic search of last name and first initial. So, for example, if you wanted to search for publications by a Dr. John E. Doe, your initial search would look like this:
Make sure to include the quotation marks. With this search, you will be retrieving publications that mention the last name of Doe, and a first initial of J. As a result, you will retrieve most of the relevant results for the author, but many irrelevant results as well (e.g. authors whose names are John P. Doe, Jason Doe, or Janet Doe, etc., or publications that mention J Doe but are not authored by them).
You can search within the author field by either using Google Scholar’s Advanced Search or using the author field tag. The Advanced Search is effective when you are looking for a single author (with no name variations). The author field tag is best for searching multiple author names (including name variations).
A. Advanced Search
Google Scholar has an Advanced Search option. This function is particularly useful if you are only looking for a single author name. To access this function, click the three bars on the upper left-hand side of the screen.
This will cause a dropdown to appear. From there, click “Advanced Search.”
This will take you to Google Scholar’s Advanced Search. From here, you can use a variety of keyword options, and search by author, publication name, and/or date range. When searching for an author, make sure to put quotation marks around the author’s name.
B. Author Field Tag
An alternative way to search for an author is to use the author: field tag.
So, for example, if you wanted to search for John Doe, you would enter this into the Google Scholar search bar:
If you want to narrow your search, you can limit it by including the author's middle initial. However, you will want to correct for name ambiguity in your search, to ensure you will not miss relevant results. For example, the author, John E. Doe, may write their name in different ways in their publications (e.g. sometimes they may be referred to as J Doe, without a middle initial, or as J E Doe in a publication record). To correct for this, you will want to include name variations in your search and combine them using OR (or, in Google Scholar, the | symbol), just like in the strategy used below:
author:“JE Doe”|author:“J Doe”
This will retrieve publications that have the author listed as JE Doe or as J Doe. “|” works the same as a Boolean OR would, in that it will be retrieving publications with JE Doe in the author field, publications with J Doe in the author field, or publications with both JE Doe and J Doe in the author field.
ORCID IDs are like a social security number for researchers. If consistently included in publications and updated by the researcher, they can solve the issue of name ambiguity when searching for publications.
If the author you are searching for happens to have an ORCID ID, you can include it in your search. To do this, you will add the ORCID ID using |, just like you would add an alternative name for the author, like so:
author:“JE Doe”|author:“J Doe”|0000-0003-0799-4776
You can also limit your results by entering the author’s affiliation as a keyword. So, for example, if John Doe was from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, you could enter the affiliation like so:
author:“JE Doe”|author:“J Doe” wisconsin
Google Scholar automatically inserts the Boolean AND between the words in your search. Just like if you were to use AND, this search would retrieve results that have either JE Doe and Wisconsin, or J Doe and Wisconsin in the publication.
You can limit by date by using the date filters on the left-hand side of the page. If you would like to search by a specific date range, you can click “Custom Range.”
Boolean Operators (AND and OR, represented by a space and | in Google Scholar)
OR ("|" in Google Scholar) is used to combine synonyms together. For example, a search of parent|guardian is going to retrieve publications that have the word parent, the word guardian, or both the words parent and guardian in them.
AND (a space in Google Scholar) is used to combine concepts together. For example, a search of parent guardian is going to retrieve publications that have BOTH the words parent and guardian in them. If a publication has the word parent, and not the word guardian, your search will not retrieve that publication.
These tell Google Scholar where to search in the article for your terms.
Quotation Marks " "
These tell PubMed to search for two or more words as an intact phrase. So, for example, searching "young adult" is going to search for that intact phrase, whereas searching young adult, without quotation marks, will look for articles that have young and adult anywhere in the article, regardless of how apart those two words might be in the article (e.g. it could retrieve an article that says "the young polar bear was now an adult."