Going Online 2 - How to Search the Web

 Lesson Two

How do I use a search engine to refine my search results?
Search engines allow us to find websites by typing in a few key search terms in a search box. They search millions of web documents for the words we specify and present us with a list of results or "hits". Some search engines do simple searching and others allow various advanced searching techniques. Depending on the search engine you may limit the results of your search by trying the following search techniques:

  • Use multiple keywords in a simple search - using more than one word in the search box will greatly improve your chances of finding the most relevant results for your search.
  • Use phrase searching - quotation marks limit the search to the quoted phrase ("garden tours" or "machine quilting").
  • Use the operators OR and NOT (or the minus sign) between keywords to include or exclude results. The word AND is automatically included as a search term.
  • Use the asterisk symbol to find a wildcard word - Use an asterisk * within a phrase search to match any word in that position. - ("four score and * years ago").
  • Use the Advanced Search - Most search engines have an "advanced search" option.
If you cannot find what you're searching for, rephrase the keywords (use the most important word first) or use another search engine.

Practice What You've Learned!

Try a simple search with one keyword on Yahoo at www.yahoo.com (trees)

Try multiple keywords in a simple search on Yahoo at www.yahoo.com (trees vs. evergreen trees)

Try using OR between key words on Bing at www.bing.com (trees OR evergreen)

Try using NOT between key words on Bing at www.bing.com (trees NOT evergreen)

Try phrase searching on Bing at www.bing.com (evergreen trees vs. "evergreen trees")

Try rephrasing your keywords on Google at www.google.com (evergreen trees vs. trees evergreen) 

Try combining search techniques on Google at www.google.com ("evergreen trees" -fast)

Try the Advanced Search on Bing at www.bing.com and on Google at www.google.com 

Try using the asterisk symbol in a phrase on Yahoo at www.yahoo.com ("a rolling * gathers no *") 


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