Tips for Effective Searching

With new and specialized sites popping up all the time — Bing? Wolfram Alpha? — here are some tips to stay on point in your search.

Know what you’re looking for and be as specific as possible. Instead of searching for “computer,” try “computer consumer reviews,” “laptop computer fans,” and so on. Narrowing down the field will let the most relevant information burble to the top.

Use the options in your search engine to your advantage. If you’re searching for colleges or nonprofits, filter your results to only websites with those domains (.edu or .org) using “Advanced Search” tools.

Check out Google’s niche searches or Research Beyond Google for more options like blog search, news search, and topical listings.

Do specialized searches using educational databases and resources that you can access at your local public library, and online versions of many newspapers (especially the New York Times) with access to their online archives.

Remember that Wikipedia’s Wikisource offers an ever-growing list of sources that are in the public domain, as does Project Gutenberg. The Directory of Open Access Journals also gathers free articles from scholarly journals across many disciplines.

For more information, peruse this list of additional resources:

Simple Tips to Search the Internet More Effectively

History Cooperative

Investext: Tips for Effective Searching

Collins Library Tips for Effective Web Searching

NCSU Library Tips for Effective Searching

Quick Tips for Effective Searching

Tips for Effective Use of Search

Web Awareness for Teachers