. Narrow the topic to something specific. Write out a list of questions or points you plan to use include in your writing.
. Make a list ofrelevant topic keywords for each point or question above. These would be words or phrases frequently used when talking about or describing the topic.
“Ford F250” may be too broad but “2018 Ford F250 Reviews” would bring you right to the results you were seeking.
. Add the type of information you are seeking to your search phrase.
Words like “Tips”, “Tools”, “Define”, “Skills”,”Recipe” and “Reviews” will help narrow your search results to a specific type of information.
. Use quotation marks to find specific facts.
What year was Gmail created or Facts about Vitamin D”
. If you’re looking for a specific type of file such as a .jpg or .pdf, enter that in the search engine along with your keywords.
. Use Wildcard search to see what suggestions the search engine offers. Use an asterisk (*) to replace one or more words which will result in search engine suggestions.
For example, if you were to type in PowerPoint *, Google would give you a list of words that could go in the place of the asterisk – templates, download to pdf, presentation, viewer …and more.
. Get the most up-to-date information. If you use Google to conduct your research, you can click “tools” under the search box and narrow down the search results to a certain timeframe such as the past week, month, or year.
. Subtraction ( – ) will tell search engines to ignore pages that include the keyword directly after the symbol. For example, “Cookie Recipe – eggs” would bring up cookie recipes that did not include eggs.
. Locate related sites by using the related: operator. For example, if you are researching NASCAR, you could use the search term “related:www.nascar.com” (all one word, without the quotes) to bring up similar sites.
. Use the right amount of words. While you may be thinking “What brand of dog food is best for a 6-year-old labradoodle?” you may get better results with “healthiest dog food for labradoodles”
. Search titenles, URLs or text only by using intitle:inurl: or intext:For example, intitle:crèmebrulee would bring up only results with the words crème brulee in the title of the page. Inurl:crèmebrulee would generate results with the words crème brulee in the page URL and the same with intext. It would bring up pages where that phrase was found within the page text
. Use Reputable Sources – Before accepting information from a source as fact, ask yourself these questions:
a. does the site look professional and is fresh content being posted regularly
b. Who is the author of the site and what is their expertise or background?
c. What is the purpose of the information they are providing? this may meant to educate readers, sway reader opinions, take a stance for or against something,
advertise a product or service, etc.? Is the author biased?
d. Who is linking to the site and what sites are being linked to from this information source?