Locating Information Using Google More Effectively

Search Tips

Use specific terms

The Internet is vast, and the content available is ever-changing. It helps to give the search engines as much to work with as possible. If you’re trying to Google a recipe for cake, for example, be specific as to what kind of cake you want to make. Perhaps even add in some ingredients you want to use. "Chocolate cake with sour cream," for example.

Finding an exact phrase

If you want to find a search result that contains the exact words you type in, enclose your search term in quotation marks. Maybe you’re writing a paper on the works of John Donne, and you can remember the phrase “no man is an island,” but you can’t remember what comes after that. Enclose the phrase in quotes to more effectively find the result you’re looking for.

Using the minus sign

Perhaps you’re trying to find information about wizard characters that are not Harry Potter. You could eliminate Harry Potter from your search results by using the minus sign like this: wizard book character -harry potter.

As of this writing, Google no longer allows for the use of the plus operator, which used to allow one to search for all keywords typed into the search field.

Searching a site

Sometimes, Google can save you an extra step or two if you are planning on going to a URL and using the site’s search function to look for information. Perhaps you want to find an article in the New York times on a subject or a person. Maybe you’re writing a paper on the author Madeleine L'Engle for a contemporary literature class. If you’d like to quickly search the New York Times’ website for content related to her without having to visit the site first, you may type the following information into the search field: site:nytimes.com Madeleine L'Engle

Note:Make sure you do not place a space between the colon and the site name.

Use Google as a calculator

Instead of reaching for your iPhone or talking calculator, you can ask Google to help you perform calculations. Pull up your Google search and type in your math query. Press enter, and your result should be the first heading. Instead of typing your search directly into the search bar, you can search for calculator, if you prefer. To find out more about all the calculations you can perform, visit Google Support.

Becoming more proficient at searching will help you with many tasks, from finding the best sources for your paper to keeping up with the news of the day, from keeping up with the world of your college to the world at large. No wonder people use Google as a verb now!

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