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In this paper, we report on surface potentiometry in the channel region of operating amorphous In–Ga–Zn–O thin film transistors by scanning kelvin probe microscopy. Important parameters including the field-effect mobility and source/drain contact resistance are extracted from the channel potential profile. We find that the channel potential as a function of gate/drain bias can be described by the standard metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) equation incorporated with two nonideal factors: the gate-voltage-dependent field-effect mobility and the source/drain contact resistance.