Research Portal FAQs

What is the "stream view" and why is it unique?

The ICF Research Portal is unique in the method in which it links and displays research in a "stream view" that allows the researcher to view references and citations both backward and foward in time. When researchers begin work in a specific area they are generally confronted with two problems. First, they need to find at least one research paper or book on the topic in order get into the flow of that "stream" of research. Secondly, until now, it has been cumbersome to move forward and backward in time in a stream of research so that one may quickly gather secondary research.

How do I use the stream view effectively?

Once you find an article or book on the topic you are interested in, you can scroll in the References and Citations columns to see related articles or books for which references are available in the Research Portal. References from the article will appear in the left-hand column, which will be back in time. Research that cites the article will appear in the right-hand column, which will be forward in time.

What is the search results order?

Search results are in order of Google Scholar cites. Google Scholar is a database available at, which contains a significant number of research-related references along with links to research that cite each reference.

What search terms can I use?

The following search terms are available in Basic Search:

  • author:name (e.g., author:Smith)
  • "find this exact phrase" (that is, use quotes to find an exact phrase)
  • -exclude (putting a - character in front of a word will cause results to exclude all references and documents that contain the word after the - character)

Advanced Search offers many more Boolean search capabilities that are available by clicking on the downward facing triangles in each field.

What are BibTeX and RIS files?

Many researchers use personal reference manager programs to help them organize references and facilitate document retrieval. The meta-data about a reference, such as authors, title, date, and abstract, may be exchanged electronically between reference manager programs with a standardized file format. BibTeX and RIS are the two most common reference formats.


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