14.11 Level up Your Google Game

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the uses and limits of Google searches in academic writing.

Popular search engines like enable you to find lots of information quickly and, when used cautiously, can be fabulous research tools. Because the information you find is not necessarily academic, credible, or pertinent to your topic, generic search engines are best used in the preliminary stages of the research process. As you use these search engines, make sure you are using them most effectively so you can speed up your search process and find the best information.

GOOGLE SEARCH TIPS

Practice these google search techniques to narrow down your search results.

Google Search Tools. Created using information from Google Support and Google Guide.
Search tool How to use it
”   “ Use quotes to search for exact phrases. This search tool looks for the words in the same order they appear, so be careful not to be too specific, or risk excluding helpful information. For example, “medicinal practices at Gettysburg” returns just one result.
Example: “The Battle of Gettysburg” or “Medicinal practices” Gettysburg
 – Use dash immediately before a word or site to excludes that from your search.
Example: cricket -insect or Civil War -Gettysburg or Civil War -site:wikipedia.org
 * Put an asterick in place of an unknown search term.
Example: “an * a day”
site: Search specific  websites or domains. This is helpful in academic research if you want to find articles only from .edu, .gov, or .org websites.
Examples: Gettysburg site:history.com or Gettysburg site:.mil 
related: Find websites that are similar to a web address you already know.
Example: related:genealogy.com
OR Use OR to search for information that may use a different word.
Example: medicine OR surgery in “Battle of Gettysburg”
filetype: Find specific types of files. Example: Gettysburg Address filetype:ppt
allintitle: Find pages that have the keywords in the title of the page. Example: allintitle: medicine gettysburg battle

Apply your newfound skills by solving Google’s “A Google a Day” research question.

You can avoid having to memorize many of the search tools by simply using Google Advanced Search and typing in the specific information you seek. There you can sort for exact words, phrases, websites, filetype, and even usage rights.

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