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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 secondsThis video is going to show you a few techniques that you can employ, to help you arrive at good quality information faster. Let's start with Google. The basic Google search box, or a plug-in on your browser, like the one up here, is how most people search for information. But the techniques I'm going to show you will apply to almost any search engine, or actual commercial database that you go to search. So a couple of warning facts that you might not know are that Google actually saves quite a few days of searches from your computer. That's great if you're shopping, or you're browsing for hobby-related information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsThe sites you've looked at, and searches you've done before, are used by Google to prioritise related material for your new searches. However, if someone in your house was looking for, Oh, let's say, for example, they were preparing tea. So they wanted a vegetarian meal. If you now come to look at diet-related information for cancer prevention, that vegetarian meal search is going to influence what you're shown. Results are also very dependent on where you are on the planet. If I go to my Google homepage, you'll see this little UK icon. It's going to prioritise anything from the UK over anything from elsewhere on the planet.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 secondsIf I go to the bottom right of the Google screen, you can actually see, if I click, the UK disappears, and I'm now at the website. So I get information as if I was sitting in the USA. It's very difficult to actually change this, so it's worth, if you've heard that there's some good research going on in a particular country, for example, Scotland, you might want to have a look, and see what's going on there. And identify information there from Scottish newspapers, and particularly from Scottish sources. So now we've talked about a couple of things to be aware of in the background. How can we actually improve the search that you've put into the box?

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsLet's say I'm looking for information on breast cancer, and I want both of those words to be in my search results equally. So I'm going to say to Google, please find me things that have the word "breast" and the word "cancer" in them. And I've put the "and" in capital letters to tell Google, it's a command. It's not a word I want it to find in the web pages it's looking at for me. If I wanted to be actually even more accurate, I could type "around," and then put a number in brackets. And what this tells Google is, I'm only interested in web pages that have the word "cancer" within four words of the word "breast."

Skip to 2 minutes and 44 secondsso it will find me cancer of the breast, or breast cancer. It's going to only fine me things where those two are quite close together in the web page. | can then come back to my search and think, well, actually, what I'm really interested in is things that also are talking about the subtype of breast cancer, HER-2. So I can put HER dash 2. Now sometimes, the dash can mean something, as a search command. So it's an idea to put HER-2 into double quotes, because that tells Google, please look for that as a phrase. And I can then talk about and say, well, I'm interested in the genome sequencing or genomics around that.

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 secondsSo I'm going to look for the word "genome." Let's run the search. And it tells me I have 353,000 results, which is probably lower than you're used to finding, and that's because we've done such a specific search. That's still rather a lot, so let's have a look at the search tools that I've got available to me. This is a fast changing area of research, so what we can do is say, well, please show me only the information from the last year. I can then say, well, actually, what I'm looking at is information at quite a high level. So I'm going to go in and say, please narrow my search results by reading level.

Skip to 4 minutes and 4 secondsAnd you can see that already because we've done such an accurate search, 89% of our search results are what Google considers to be quite advanced reading level. But we can click on Advanced, and see how that's narrowed things down. And it's narrowed it down to about 9,000 results. So at this point, let's have a start looking through. And we can see that we're starting to get through to quite accurate websites. It's sometimes worth looking in just general Google, even if you want academic content. Because you will get indexed things, like the videos, usually from conferences.

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 secondsIf there's guidelines, if there's information being released from government official bodies, then you won't find those in the more specific Google Scholar, but you will find them in the general Google search. If we know that there's information on a particular topic put out by a particular body, we can actually say we want to search just their website. So I wonder what the World Health Organisation says about breast cancer. I already know that the web address for the World Health Organisation is

Skip to 5 minutes and 12 secondsSo I'm going to type the word, "site," followed by a colon, followed by the web address. And if I run this search, and I scroll down through all of the adverts by people who have paid Google money, you can see that it searched. And it's found me just information from all the different sites that the World Health Organisation have. If I'm not too sure about a term, and what it means, I can use another function on Google, called Define. So we're talking about the genomic revolution here. So actually, what are genomics? So let's type the word, "define," followed by a colon, and the word "genomics."

Skip to 5 minutes and 54 secondsAnd it tells me here, that it's the branch of molecular biology concerned with the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes.

Skip to 6 minutes and 3 secondsNow we've have a quick look at some general Google searching. let's have a quick look at other functions that Google offers us. Clicking on the checks, we can actually see some of the other services available. Click on More, and you can see that Google has Google Books. This quite often allows you to search within the full text of books, where publishers allow it, and to read quite a lot of information, a couple of pages, sometimes a whole chapter, around your search terms within the book. Be careful, though, because the books are sometimes old editions. If we look at even more, we can then find out that Google offers us something called Google Scholar.

Skip to 6 minutes and 38 secondsNow, Google Scholar only indexes papers within published journal articles. We can rerun our whole search again, typing in all of our different commands, then run the search. And you can see already, it's a very different search result to what we were finding before. We've got 212,000 results. We can narrow down to those in the last 12 months or so, and then we can start to look through them. I hope these tips have been helpful for you, and you can now spend more time reading interesting information, and less time trying to find it.

Getting the most out of Google

At various points throughout this course we’re going to be getting you to do some investigating. So we’ve asked one of the librarians at the University of Glasgow to give you some advice on how to get the most out of internet-based search engines.

Although you might get some interesting information from a quick glance at Wikipedia, there are so many more possibilities that can open up to you with a bit of training. We hope you find this short tutorial helpful.

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This video is from the free online course:

Cancer in the 21st Century: the Genomic Revolution

University of Glasgow