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Google and the Internet: Google Tips

This guide is intended to provide helpful tips and tricks for using Google and other search engines to find good quality information.

Web Domains

Despite the fact that most of the internet isn't research material worthy, there is still a lot of great information on the internet… you just need to know where to look. One way to narrow your search is by looking at a website's top-level domain (the .com, .edu, etc. at the end of the URL). 
.edu (education)                
.gov (government)             
.com (commercial)            
.org (non-profit organization)
Typically, .edu, .gov, and .org are going to have the best quality of information. You still need to determine currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose, but generally they should have good quality information.

Google Advanced

Google's advanced settings enable you to broaden or refine your search using a variety of options. To reach the advanced settings page, go to “settings” at the bottom right of Google's main page and choose “advanced settings.”



Go to “settings” at the bottom right and choose “advanced settings.” From here, you can use the "Find pages with" feature to narrow your search.

Or, you can limit your results to just university websites by typing .edu in the site or domain box.

If you need to find copyright free material, use the "usage rights" box at the bottom of the screen.


Search Terms

When thinking of search terms, it is helpful to brainstorm a list of different phrases that mean the same thing.
•Technology in rural schools
•Technology in rural learning

•Technology in rural education


Using a variety of search terms will help you maximize your results.

Boolean Operators

You can also use Boolean operators in both search engines and databases to expand or narrow your search. Boolean operators are used to connect and define the relationship between your search terms. The most common are AND, OR, and NOT.
Using AND will give you results which contain both terms. 
example: Othello AND Hamlet
 Using OR will give you results which contain either search term (the terms are usually synonyms).
example: online courses OR distance learning
Using NOT will give you results containing the first search term but not the second.
example: Communism NOT Marxism

Other Search Tips

Truncated search (also known as wildcard searching) is another way to broaden your search terms. Add an asterisk in place of the end of the word you’re searching to get variations of the letters you entered.  
-Searching "child* literacy" will get multiple versions of the word child (child, children, children's etc.)
Using an asterisk in place of a person's middle name will provide results using all forms of that person's name.
- Thomas * Edison will return results with Thomas A. Edison, Thomas Alva Edison, or Thomas Edison.
Using quotation marks around your search terms will give you results with the exact phrase only.
-  “A Tale of Two Cities” will provide websites that include that exact phrase.