We use the internet to find information every day and can often easily find what we are looking for, but there are times when more advanced techniques would yield better results. Here are some recommendations.

1. Consider the language that would be used in the piece of information that you are seeking. Oftentimes, we pose search terms as the question being asked. Instead, use keywords that would appear in the answer.

2. Use the advanced Google functions. My favorite Google trick is using Google to find more websites like one I have already found. To do this, type “related:” in the search box followed by the URL of a website homepage as all one word. Google will then find other websites like that one. For example, a search of “related:smu.edu” will find the websites for TCU, UTA, Rice, Dallas Baptist University, University of Dallas, etc.

3. Question your motives when choosing keywords. The internet is vast, and chances are you can find answers that support many sides to the story. Given the human tendency towards confirmation bias, it is very easy for keywords to slant the results that you are seeing from your searches. Keep your search terms neutral, or use both positive and negative terms. For example, you would get very different results from a search of “health benefits wheat” versus a search of “negative effects wheat.”

Learn more about tools and strategies to get the most from your web searches at this upcoming workshop with Megan Heuer, our Communication Arts Librarian.
Advanced Internet Search
Thursday, March 9, 2017
5:00pm – 6:00pm
Fondren Library Red 323
Register for the event

Learn about all of our workshops.


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