1. Do you already have information on your topic?
Before beginning your research, list things you already know about your topic. See if you have information in your textbook or notes.
2. Search inside a search result using “Command F.”
If you feel like “it takes too long to read the whole page,” use the keyboard shortcut Command F (Mac) or Control F (Windows) in any web page, document, or PDF. Command F allows you to search for any letter, word, or phrase.
3. Describe your topic using different words
When formulating search phrases it can be helpful to think about the words that someone else might use to describe your topic, question, or problem. Try using those terms instead of your own. Learn more about this strategy in the short video available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9dBn3aK4rw&feature=youtu.be
4. Use Google Advanced Search
- The advanced search menu is found by opening the gear/ sprocket icon that appears in the upper right corner of the search results page. You will find tools for refining search results by file type, domain, language, and more.
- Search for media: click on “usage rights” to search for media you are free to reuse or modify. Always give attribution. See also Creative Commons Search.
- Search by domain: Limit search results to a specific top-level domain or to a specific website. For example, if you want search results to be limited to links from .edu sites, enter .edu in the domain limitation box.
- Search by file type: Search by file type allows you to find results according to file format. Combine searching by file type .ppt or .pdf with searching by domain .edu or .k12.me.us to find PowerPoints or PDFs produced by students and teachers. (replace the .me in .k12.me.us with your state’s two letter abbreviation to find slides and PDFs produced in your state).
5. Use Google Scholar
Use Google Scholar to find academic, peer-reviewed articles on your topic. Often these are articles that you would not find in typical Google search. Google Scholar is also useful for finding court rulings and patent filings.
6. Setup alerts from Google and Google Scholar
Go to https://www.google.com/alertsto create alerts for specific search terms. When new information related to your topic is available, it will be emailed to you. Google Scholar also has an alerts function.
7. Search Google Books & Newspapers
Google Books https://books.google.com/indexes millions of books and periodicals that you can search within. Many books and periodicals are available to read online for free. The Google News Newspaper Archive https://news.google.com/newspapers has digitized hundreds of old newspapers that you can search through.
8. Try another search engine
GPS has access to databases that are not indexed by Google and/or are not accessible without the subscription fee. Ask the librarian for assistance in accessing those databases.