Google search tips

You’re probably up to your ears in work right now… do you know these Google search tips to help make your research faster and more effective?

Some basic search tips:

To find a definition, put define in front of a word: define hipster

Use ~ in front of a word to get results with synonyms as well: ~antique will find vintage, classic, rare, etc.

Search within specific sites:

Type your search, then add site: plus the domain of the site you want to search within.

This can be an effective way to search within websites from Google (to find stats in government websites or articles in the New York Times website, for example), or top level domains (if you want to search only within educational websites or country specific websites).

For example, the following search in Google will only lead to Statistics Canada websites:

seniors kelowna site:statcan.gc.ca

Others you might want to try: site:edu (searches only .edu sites), site:gc.ca (limits to Government of Canada sites), site:gov.bc.ca (searches only BC Government sites)

Search by file type:

Search for only PDFs or PowerPoints, or other specific file types. Use filetype: and the three letter extension to search:

seniors kelowna filetype:PDF

Try a site search and file type search in one, for example, to find only PDFs in government sites.

Another great option is an advanced search in Google– after you hit search, scroll to the bottom to access the advanced search screen. Here you can find search fields for file and site searches, plus you can limit to language, region, last updated, etc.

You could also try Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic Search; both search engines will find scholarly literature available online.

Finally, don’t forget to use the library for scholarly sources– the library provides access to a large number of articles and reports that are not freely available on the open web. OCtopus is a great place to start your research, and our Business Administration library guides have many many resources that will provide you with reports and articles that you will not be able to find or access in Google.

Questions about your research? Ask Lindsay, your business librarian.

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