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Researching for your literature review: 9. Author searching

Search methods

Most searching is done by a combination of keyword or subject searching. Another search method is author searching

Author searching

If you are aware of a prominent researcher/author working in the area covered by your literature review, it may be a good idea to do an author search in some databases to help identify all of the articles they have published.

Some recommended databases for author searching include Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar. There are many others, check your subject-based library guide for databases in your area.

Different journals may differ in the way they customarily display author names. This means you may need to try several ways of entering an author's name to uncover all of their published work. For example:
Smith, J
Smith, J A 
Smith, John A
Smith, John Anthony     
    and so on.

Further to this, databases may vary in the way they read punctuation in searches. If conducting a keyword search for an author name, some databases may need you to enter surname comma firstname, while others might need firstname surname.

Author searching tips

  • Use truncation where available e.g. Smith, J*
  • If the author has a distinctive surname, search for that alone
  • For prefixed or compound surnames - test to see how they are handled e.g. McDonald, MacDonald, Mac Donald etc.
  • Do not use honorifics (Sr. Jr etc.) when searching for an author as this may exclude relevant results