Research Tips and Tricks

Effective GOOGLE Searching


1. Put phrases in quotation marks i.e. "multiple intelligences".

2. Words are like beads on a string, the addition of each word
or phrase is like adding one more bead to a string that will
narrow down your search i.e. "Mark Twain" biography.

3. Use a minus sign to exclude a word from your search i.e.
vikings -Minnesota.

4. To find reliable research quality information use the site
operator- site:edu or site:gov or site:org -wikipedia ( wikipedia
is ok to get an idea about your topic but should not be a cited
source) i.e.
"skin cancer" symptoms site:org -wikipedia
"skin cancer" symptoms site:gov
"skin cancer" symptoms site:edu

5. To find a particular type of file use the file operator- file:wav
or file:pdf . Some examples:
country name "national anthem" file:midi
Holocaust Germany file:pdf

6. The least effective way to search Google is to type a question
into the search box.

Effective Database Searching


1. Boolean operators are "and", "or", "not" and using one of
them is to do a "simple" search i.e.
jazz AND blues -this search finds articles that compare jazz and
blues. And always narrows a search.
jazz OR blues -this search finds articles that discuss either jazz or
blues. OR always broadens a search.
jazz NOT blues -this search finds articles that are only about jazz.
NOT always excludes records with the specified term.

2. Some databases assume boolean "AND" between adjacent
words in a keyword search i.e.
colon cancer - the implied AND means that a search for colon
cancer will retrieve colon AND cancer not the phrase colon cancer.

3. Use NOT very carefully. NOT is appropriate when a word is used
in different contexts i.e.
vikings NOT minnesota -this search retrieves records about Vikings
but not Minnesota Vikings.

4. Do subject searching versus keyword searching.