- Define your topic and list possible search terms.
- Decide which type of search tool to use.
- Choose a search engine. If the search engine is new to you, find out how it works or read the Help section.
- Choose keywords carefully. Be specific.Spelling counts!
- Look at the hit list carefully. If you don't get useful sites, redefine your keywords.
- Try an advanced search. Switch search engines, if you don't find what you need.
- Be sure to document your sources.
Types of Search Tools
- Directories categorize the information on the Internet. Use a directory if you want general information on a subject.
- Search engines search large databases using keywords that you enter.
- Metasearch engines search other search engines.
Advanced SearchingSome search engines use the following operators to make the search more specific.
Many search engines use Boolean Logic to narrow or expand a search
- Use quote marks around keywords that belong together. Ex: "peanut butter"
- Use a + sign to require that the keyword(s) be in the hits. Ex: +greyhound +adoption
- Use a - sign to leave out a term. Ex: +tigers -baseball
- Use AND to narrow a search. Ex: dogs AND cats. Websites with information about dogs and cats.
- Use OR to expand a search. Ex: dogs OR cats. Websites with information about dogs or cats
- Use NOT to narrow a search. Ex: cats NOT dogs. Websites with information about cats not dogs