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Advanced Architectural Research

Improving Your Architectural Research Skills

Whether you start with a broad search and narrow or a specific search and expand, expert researchers exhibit two attributes:

  • Curiosity
  • Persistence

This page will cover Advanced Search Techniques (phrases, truncation, excluding terms), Following Citation Trails, and Using Google Scholar. Additional tabs provide research sources and guidance for specific topics: 

Advanced Search Techniques


Often it is helpful to search things by a specific phrase and not the individual words separately, which you can do in databases and in Google by using quotation marks around the phrase.

Useful for:

  • Searching for specific Architects: "Eileen Gray," "Perkins Eastman," "Kengo Kuma"
  • Looking at Specific Topics: "artificial intelligence," "urban renewal," "climate change," 


Many words have multiple forms that you many want to include in your search. In most databases and in Google you can use the asterisk (*) symbol at the end of the trunk of the work.  For example:  Arch* will retrieve Architect, Architecture, Architectural, and more terms.

Useful for: 

  • Rooting your search within a specific topics/discipline: Arch*, Urban*, Hous*, Health*, Socio*
  • Ensuring you are searching widely

Excluding Terms

Sometimes you need to remove terms and concepts that are gearing your search away from your goals.

In many databases you can use NOT before the search field in the advanced search.

In Google, you use minus (-) sign immediately before the term you want to exclude. 

Useful for:

  • Narrowing your search
  • Excluding dominant concepts, or ones that may be implied

Citation Trails

When we follow a citation trail, we do one of two things:

  • Backwards Searching: Examine the bibliography, references or works cited section of a book or article to locate relevant sources published previously. 
  • Forwards Searching: Search for any sources that have cited or referenced a specific article since that article's publication. 

Some resources and databases make this easy by having links within the article page and may even have additional links to all the author's other publications or other article's that cite the same sources.

OneSearch lets you Backwards and Forwards Search for many, but not all of the articles.

Forwards Searching = on the upper right, the first icon with the double arrows going up

Backwards Searching = on the upper right, the second icon with the arrow pointing down

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be a good way to search scholarly content available from publishers websites, higher education repositories, and open access sites from around the world


  • Configure Google Scholar to link to TTU Libraries access to full text articles
  • Use the Cited by feature to follow Citation Trails forward
  • Look for the end of URLs to see the domain to locate content from other countries, example below .fr = France