eSource: The Basics of an Effective Web Search

Handy tip or trick

Doing a search is simple. Just type one or more search terms (the word or phrase which best describes what you want to find) into the search box and hit the Enter key or click Search. With all of the updated search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing etc, searching for something has never been so easy.

Selecting search terms
Selecting the correct search terms is the key to finding the information you are looking for.

1. Define your search by using the most obvious word which will return general information. Most likely, you will receive a number of results which may not be the exact information you were looking for.

2. Narrow your search results by using multiple search terms. For example, if you’re looking for information on crops grown in New Mexico, you will get better results with crops New Mexico than with crops or New Mexico by themselves. By entering crops New Mexico chile you will get even better results.

Don’t worry about capitalizing letters when searching. In most cases, searches are NOT case sensitive.

Include “and” and other common words
Including “and” in the search field will search for pages with all of the search terms used such as "green AND red chile". Most search engines return pages which include all of your search terms. If it is essential to return results with the common word, include a “+” sign in front of it. Make sure to space before the “+” sign.

Phrase search
There may be times when you want results to include an exact phrase. Simply put quotation marks around the search terms. Phrase searches are effective if you are searching for proper names such as (“Abraham Lincoln”), or other famous phrases (“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory”).

Submitted by: Admin ACES Technology Help Desk
Date submitted: 11/30/2005, last modified 11/01/2012
Categories: Computers and Technology