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Search Tips & Strategies

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How to search on Google

Google has a few tips and tricks to help you easily find information.

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Google Search Operators

You can use search operators and other punctuation to get more specific search results. A fast way to focus your results with just a few keystrokes.

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Multnomah Homework Center

The Multnomah Library Homework Center provides a list of primary sources for a wide range of subjects and topics.

Check with you local libraries to see what resources they can offer you and your students.

Google Search Tips

Matt Cutts, a software engineer at Google, provides tips for better web searching.

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Searching Magazines like New Scientist

When searching within a specific domain, remember to check out the domain's journal and magazine web sites. Many offer searchable indexes of articles and resources to speed your information quest.

While New Scientist may be a little bit more "sensational" than other science magazines, it can trigger student interest and drive exploration into critical thinking.

Basic Strategies

Here are some search tips to use when looking for information:

  • If you are searching for a phrase, enclose it with quotes, e.g., "grass for football fields".
  • Try more or fewer words.
  • Start with the most important word first. If you're looking for what type of grass to put on your football field, grass football works better than football grass .
  • Try a different description, e.g., turf football.
  • If there is an Advanced Search or Help option, try it. It will give you better control over the search or help identify what you need to do to zero in on the information you're looking for.
  • Be sure that the words are spelled correctly.
  • Not every web site search works as well as Google. If you cannot find exactly what you are looking for, try fewer words or just accept that you may have to look thru a longer list of results.

Fluency in search techniques are the 21st century equivalent of using a card catalog. Some nay-sayers protest substituting such skills for traditional skills but our job is to prepare students for the future and online research will be critical to academic and workplace information.

Be aware that every search works a little differently. Use the Help or Advanced Search links if they are available.

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