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Physical Therapy Resources: Internet Searching

Internet Search Engines

Of all the search engines, Google is the best known.  For online academic searching Google Scholar is recommended over the general Google Search. Google is a great resource if you know how to use it correctly. Try the techniques explained on this page and you will have a much better chance of getting the information you desire. The Google Scholar search box is provided to assist your searching.

REMEMBER to ALWAYS add the phrase "PHYSICAL THERAPY" to your search. For example, in the Google Search box type (including the quotes): "Traumatic Head Injury" and "Physical Therapy". By including the word "and" with your discipline (Physical Therapy) to you search you will limit your search to items that are specific to each search term. 

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar Search

Avoid Stop Words

When you enter articles into a search engine (a, an, the), it will likely ignore them. They are known as STOP WORDS.

However, you should avoid using stop words so Google can find the keywords that matter most. For example, do not write

the coffee industry and a stock report

The stop words "the" and "a" might confuse the search engine. Instead, try these searches first for more focused results:

coffee industry AND stock reports

"coffee industry" + stock reports

General Google Helps

Did you know you can type sunset and your zip code to find out what time the sun sets that day?

Use Google as a calculator.  Just type in your equation.

Find images by clicking on the Image tab (on the side or on the top of the screen) after you have performed a search.

A few tricks up your sleeve...

Basic Search Tips

Exact phrases

This searches for an exact phrase.

  • put the terms in quotes ("____")
  • Example: "East Liverpool"

Mandatory Phrases

The keywords following the exact phrase and plus sign must appear in the results.

  • Use "+" before 1st letter
  • Example: "Apple Inc." + ipad

Exclude terms from your search

If words come up and you do not want them to appear in your results, then you can exclude them.

  • Use the minus symbol ("-") before the 1st letter to exclude a word.
  • Example: [flowers -author:flowers] returns papers about flowers and ignores papers written by people with the name Flowers.

Specify the type of site

  • Pick a domain, put "site:" right before the domain
    • .gov = government info
    • .edu = academic/college
    • .mil = military
    • .com = commercial/business
    • .org = organization/institution
  • Example: nursing site:org

Searching a particular website

  • If you want to search for T.C. Boyle
  • Example: T.C. Boyle

Advanced Search Tips

An author search is usually written as [author:Lastname] so sometimes you will need to add a first initial, and if you do, you should use quotation marks. Also, you should try variant spellings. For example, in order to find a work by Alan Watts, you should try:

  • [author:watts]
  • [author:"a watts"]
  • [author:"Alan Watts"]