[search, literature, libkey, google scholar]

What to search for? Search effectively.

Although there is no exact recipe for an effective search, the following tips will surely help you find relevant literature for your research more effectively:

  • Identify your keywords. Start by defining the research question that you aim to answer, what are the main ideas? Use such question toward identifying the keywords. Employing the jargon of your subject area will also help you to find the most effective words for your search.

  • Connect your keywords. Use boolean logic to link your search words in specific ways:

    • OR will broaden your search to either (or both) of the two words.

      Elderly OR senior
    • AND will narrow your search to both terms.

      Elderly AND mental health
    • NOT will exclude the terms, thus, narrowing your search.

      (Elderly OR senior) NOT young
  • Search tricks

    • Truncation (*): Helps finding different word endings.

      senior* --> seniors, seniority
    • Phrase searching ("..."): Helps searching for common phrases

      "mental health" will find results with both words together as a phrase
    • Wildcards (?): Allow for spelling variations within the same or related terms

      b?ll --> bell, bill and ball
  • Narrow and refine your search results. For instance, filter by year of publication or date range and by source type (e.g. article, book or review).

Google Scholar.

Make things easier: use Google scholar. It provides a simple way to find scholarly literature from multiple disciplines and sources (articles, books, journals…).

If for some reason, you cannot access a specific article, paper or book, paste the DOI at libkey.io to retrieve the article (you need to login through your institution).

  • Useful tips from the search results:
    • Relevant articles and cited by. In just one click these two options will help you find a broad range of additional relevant literature for your research question.

    • Citation. It allows you to download the citation in different styles and formats (e.g., Bibtex, Refworks…) without even having to access the specific document.

    • Linking the access from your institution to Google Scholar. This allows you to access the resources available from your institution’s online library directly. This can be done in 3 simple steps:

      1- Go to Google Scholar settings

      2- Click on the “library links” section and type in the name of your institution in the search box.

      3- When the result appears, uncheck any other boxes to which you do not have access to and click on the save button.

      Once set, you will see at each result of the search a “Fulltext via [institution search tool]”.


Another good alternative to find scholarly literature. Given that it relies on the metadata of publications, its search is highly reliable providing with consistent links to the publications, with the correct author names.


Click on actions under the search result to download citations in different styles and formats.


Only publications that have a DOI can be found!