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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Google for Academic Research

A guide on techniques for researchers to increase their skills with Google's various search options.

Search Operators 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 on google's help page.

-  (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. 


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

Access Google's Advanced Search by clicking on 'Settings,' then 'Advanced Search' from the homepage, OR locate the gear icon This is an image of the gear icon used by Google. for the advanced search option.

What can I do with the Advanced Search?

  • Search for a range of numbers.
    Example: 10..35 lb, $300..$500, 2000..2016
  • Search for terms that appear in certain parts of the page, such as in the URL, text, or title.
  • Search for a specific file type
  • Narrow your results by region and date last updated
  • Find material that you can reuse
  • Search for resources in specific languages

Learn More

Note: This Infographic was originally produced for the Undegraduate Library's ESL Guide