Online Searching Strategies
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Online Searching Strategies.
Specific search operators are in bold print and in parenthesis ( ) which are not be used when conducting actual searches. Sample searches are in the Italic font.
More search terms equal fewer results. Construct your searches with at least 3 - 4 keywords to refine your results. Choose descriptive words that have concise definitions.
(Example) 1) dolphins, retrieves 83 million+ web pages (many football sites), 2) dolphins bottlenose 423,000, 3) dolphins bottlenose predators 380,000+, dolphins bottlenose predators life cycle 151,000
(" ") Phrase search / Put keywords in Quotations
When you are searching for an exact phrase, (Example)“gene splicing process” put the keywords in quotes to find those exact words in that exact order. Without quotes, the multiple keywords could be separated and found anywhere in the document or page.
(site:) Search within a specific website
You can specify that your search results must come from a given website. For example, the search, (Examples) “Afghanistan war” site:nytimes.com, will return pages about the Afghanistan War but only from the New York Times newspaper or “application deadline” site:Berkeley.edu
(site:gov, site:edu, site:com, etc.) Search within a specific domain
or within a specific country’s web sites (site:uk for United Kingdom)
You can limit your search to a specific domain or to a specific country’s websites in order to better focus your search. (Examples) ”disease control” site.gov will search for only government sites, or “soccer scores” site:uk will search only on United Kingdom web pages. To learn more about domains, visit this site, http://www.iana.org/domains/root/ .
(intitle: or inurl:) Search only in the web page or document title or just in the address or URL search box.
To narrow your search results place the keyword(s) directly after these two operators, (Examples) “brain development” intitle:omega3 or “global warming” inurl:sea ice.
(*) Fill in the blanks
The asterisk *, can locate unknown words in keyword phrases or allow for multiple terms to be searched, (Examples) congress to vote on the * bill, will give you stories about an upcoming vote on different bills. Note that the * operator works only on whole words, not parts of words.
(…) Search in a specific date range
For queries that are date sensitive place 3 periods between two dates, (Examples) “concentration camps” 1941…1945
Put Them Together
(Example) 1) civil war (163 million hits), OR intitle:"civil war" ...1861-1865 causes timeline slavery site:org (1,220 hits)
Use Google Scholar, EBSCO, eScholarship, refseek, etc. for either hard-to-find scholarly articles or more relevant, authoritative articles and information.