Research...whether for school or business or even pleasure, you’ve likely researched something or many, many somethings. If you’re online, then you’re probably well versed at researching using the Google machine. You may even be well versed in using advanced search and filters. Today we want to give you a few more options you may not be familiar with but will take your Google research game to the next level and help you create compelling and complete content.
#1: Maximize Autocomplete
Okay, this is kind of a gimme but just want to emphasize why this is important. If you’re not familiar with autocomplete, when you start typing in the search bar, you may notice Google starts to read your mind, or at least tries to. What Google is doing is populating the bar with possible terms you can use that are related to the terms you're typing in.
And this is a source of information that will serve your research strategy because it’s based on Google’s user-driven data.
“Predictions are made based on factors, like the popularity and freshness of search terms."
Search predictions come from:
- The terms you’re typing, obviously.
- Relevant searches you’ve done in the past (namely if you’re signed in to your Google Account and have Web & App Activity turned on).
- AND What other people are searching for, including Trending stories .
Trending stories are popular topics in your area that change throughout the day. They aren’t related to your search history but if you’re looking to research the most relevant stories this is the place to start.
So, boom! Relevant, user-driven, data brought right to you. Just type in a few starter words and let autocomplete get you started.
#2: Use Google Scholar
By definition, Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines.
Go to scholar.google.com, you can search by article (including or not including patents) or case law. If you select case law you can then select federal courts and state specific courts. Click on select courts, you will see all the various courts from Supreme court, court of claims, court of customs and patent appeals to any circuit in the US.
#3: Site-specific search
This is a powerful way to search any website out there and particularly useful when you’re looking for a specific term on a website, reaping far better gains than using the website’s search bar.
Here’s how you do it:
- Simply type site
- the domain you want to search
- and then, [keywords]
For example, if I want to search a site for all the content produced by a certain author I’d type in site:97thfloor.com and Shante
This is especially helpful if you’re researching on a .org, .edu or .gov site.
#4: Narrowing your options
Now that you know how to do a power search of a website, here’s a way to narrow your options to only the most relevant.
Add in additional queues for Google in quotations. For example, add “allintext” when searching for a group of words together and “daterange” to find information from a specific date.
Finally, take it up to the ultimately level by adding in the appropriate symbol to your search query.
- Use the (- hyphen) to narrow results with words that have multiple meanings
- For example, when you are searching for the animal “Cat” and don’t want info about the bulldozer company
- (+) to include words
- (~ tilde) to include synonyms
- (* asterisk) “fill in the blank” [Example: Glasgow is the * capital of Europe]
- (“ “) to look up a complete sentence
Mashable put together a great infographic called “Tips and Trick for Students Conducting Online Research” - I’ll leave a link in the description box below. It’s a great resource to have on hand, especially as you’re getting started in your power searching.
Full infographic at: http://mashable.com/2011/11/24/google-search-infographic/
And for more on becoming an expert on any topic fast, head on over to 97thfloor.com and read this article, 20 Minutes to Expert: How to Perform Reliable Content Research When Time Isn’t on Your Side. I’ll leave a link to that article below.
That’s it, 5 tips for getting the most out of Google search. Until next time!