Google Scholar to Find Literature

Survivor Research 101: Google Scholar to Find Literature

Start with

Enter in the search field the specific topic you are investigating (familial trafficking, trauma informed practices in anti-trafficking, gang controlled trafficking, etc.)

Keep in mind, not all articles* will be applicable or what you need.  You may come across articles from disciplines like criminology, medicine, or political science.  You need to browse the articles—start with the abstract!—to see if they’re relevant and have the information you need.  You will need to look through the articles to get a sense of whether or not they:

Provide pertinent background information that can be cited (e.g., how many estimated gang-trafficked individuals are in the U.S.);

Provide pertinent definitions (e.g., what is a trauma-informed standard of care?) needed;

Give a good idea of where the recent literature “is” on the current topic (e.g., do scholars agree or disagree on the role race plays in commercial sexual exploitation? Or which theory best explains it?); 

*books will be useful but it’s a little easier to start your literature review by getting an idea of what the most recent work has found on the topic.  There may be great books written on a topic, but to get an idea, start with journal articles where you can browse the findings online quickly to get an overview of what’s been done. 

One of the most helpful features of is the “Since” feature on the left hand side.  Since you don’t need a ton of sources for this project, make sure they are recent unless you are needing a seminal work (e.g., An original definition of trafficking in persons).  In general, you want your current literature to be less than 10 years old.  You can also find that original publication and click on “Cited By” before opening it, to find more recent literature that has built on the original one.

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