Searching on the open web via Google or another search engine is our go-to instinct. We get it. When searching the open web keep the following in mind:
Word order matters! Google takes into account the way you have typed in your search. Try searching "fashion chemistry" vs. "chemistry fashion." When I do these searches the first result for both is the same, but after that the first search has more science related result and the second more fashion related results.
Operators: Google offers many ways to create advanced searches using various operators that tell the search engine more specifically what you are looking for.
- Quotation marks around exact phrases.
- Use OR to include like phrases (sneakers OR "tennis shoes")
- By using the operator site: you can get Google to look on a specific site or type of site (site:cen.acs.org or just site:org)
- You can eliminate results by using a minus sign and the word you do NOT want in your search. You can also do this to exclude certain types of domains (i.e. .com) There should be no space before the eliminated word. (chemistry air pollution -.com)
- You can also specify that certain words must be in the text of your results (furniture intext:"chemical hazards")
Sorting through results:
- When looking at your search results, look at the title, the excerpt below the title and the URL.
- Can you determine what the site is? If so, do you think it is reliable?
- Do the title and excerpt make the page seem relevant to your project idea?'
- Once on the site, if it is an unfamiliar organization check the About Us section.
- If the site seems reliable and relevant look around by browsing the menus or searching on the site for more information relevant to your topic.