You know how to Google like the best of them right? Perhaps not, there are a number of tricks you can use to narrow your search so you get the results you wish. We recently read a couple of articles on the websites How-To Geek and the Atlantic that highlighted some methods to do this. We wanted to share a few that we considered were the most helpful.
Operators are key
Operators are the keys when you are looking for specific information with a Google search. Think of operators as being the complete opposite of overly generic search terms. The How-To Geek site uses the illustration of a Google user who would like to uncover New York Times stories about test scores in college from 2008 to 2010. This same user, though, doesn’t want to view SAT scores. Sounds like a difficult task, but with operators, it isn’t. First, if the user inserts the operator “site:” before the words “nytimes.com,” that user will only pull up results from the New York Times. The user may then add quotation marks around the words “test scores” to locate that exact phrase, not each of the words separately. If the user inserts the “-” operator in front of the word “SATs,” the user will remove the term “SATs” from the search. The user may then add 2008..2010 to show all results from a given time range. The “..” operator performs this nifty trick.
Google Scholar is excellent if you are attempting to do very deep research. It only searches academic and scholarly work. As an example, if you are looking for a specific research paper written by anthropologist Dr. Forcella about snake mythology, you would simply input the operator “author:” in front of “Forcella” followed by the phrase “snake mythology” into Google Scholar.
“Control F” is a great little trick to help you narrow your search results. For instance, if you are searching for recipes for a theme dinner party, like the 4th of July, but you are most interested in desserts, you can search for 4th of July recipes. After completing your search you can hold down control and hit “F” on your keyboard. This will make a small search bar appear at the top or bottom of your computer screen. Then by typing in desserts, it will narrow the current search results down highlighting all the desserts!