Effective Web Searching
To find current businesses, government reports, data, think tank reports, advocacy groups, and local news or organizations, the Web can be the best place to search for info.
That said, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the results of a Web search and miss useful sources.
Targeted Web search strategies can help!
Search Strategies & Tips
- Use keywords that capture what you want to find info on. Be flexible and adjust as needed.
- Limit to information from a specific domain source.
- .gov for government info
- .org for non-profit organizations
- .edu for educational sites, such as university research institutes and think tanks
- .mil for military sources
- .com for commercial businesses
- NOTE: Keep in mind that domain is just one piece of information and there are not "good" and "bad" domains for research.
- Limit to a specific kind of information.
- add the keyword statistics to find statistics
- use the limiter .pdf to look for pdfs
- Look through the results beyond the first page you get. You may find a great source four or five pages in!
- Filter Bubbles: Keep in mind that Google's algorithm returns results that it "thinks" you will like. That means you will likely get things akin to what you have clicked on, liked, opened, and searched for before.
- Therefore, the cast a wider net, run multiple searches with different search terms.
- You might also try searching in incognito mode!
- You can construct a search to look within a website. This can be useful, for example, to explore what a university or research institute has on current research in a field To do so:
- Type site: and the root of the research institute or program website.
- Ex: site:www.cs.washington.edu/research/robotics
- The search screen then lets you to search within that program's web site with a specific search term.
- In this case, I searched "sensors" and got a list of links to content on sensors within the UW robotics program.
Final Tip: Try Google Advanced Search for a search experience more like that in a library database. Google Advanced Search helps with keywords, domains, dates, and more.