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Systematic searching for information

How to search for information online

The way we look for our keys is different to the way we look for a holiday. If we want to know what’s on television tonight, we might look in a different place to if we want to order a pizza. All of these tasks, and more, can now be performed online, and all require different approaches if we’re to be sure to get what we’re after.

As Teaching and Learning Advisor Alison Kaye explores in this video, it may be necessary for us to look beyond the first page of Google results. We may even be better off searching somewhere else entirely. We also need to tailor our searching behaviour according to the place where we’re looking and the type of information we’re after.

Even if you are just using Google, there are still some handy tools we can use to tailor our searches. For starters there’s Google’s Advanced Search which will give you a lot more control over your searching. There are even special terms called operators that you can use in the normal Google search box to control your search.

If you’re getting a lot of irrelevant results on Google, you can also go to the ‘Search Tools’ menu at the top of your results, and switch the ‘All results’ toggle to ‘Verbatim’: this will force Google to only search on the terms you’ve entered, rather than guessing at alternate meanings.

In the comments, below, why not consider some of the following questions?

  • What search tools do you use as an alternative to Google?

  • Do you search on multiple platforms for information?

  • What do you think are the benefits of using different search engines when seeking information?

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