Applying search techniques in Google Scholar for English learning

Applying some of the techniques we have previously seen directly in the Google search engine involves several problems. English native speakers are not the only ones who create contents on the Internet, which means that Google results can be misleading. Besides, we can find words and expressions written in different registers and genres, which might not be appropriate for our writing.

For these reasons, we are going to use another search engine instead, Google Scholar, which compiles academic texts across many disciplines.

Quotation marks («») can help us when we are not sure if two or more collocates go naturally together. This technique also helps us by avoiding making mistakes that we tend to commit as non native English speakers. The choice of prepositions is one of our biggest headaches. Let’s imagine you are not sure whether the preposition that co-occurs with «depth» is «in» or «on». Have a look at the results after browsing «review it in depth» and «review it on depth» .

You can also use the asterisk operator (*) and quotations marks together. This is specially helpful if you don’t suspect of any word which could be a natural collocation of the words around it. Check out the results from the search «review it * depth». You will probably know by now that the correct answer is «review it in depth».

Try to use both strategies to find the correct preposition in the following task: