‘Faster, better, stronger’ methods of searching the Internet? by Grace

Information adapted from http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/help/32d181ae-9aea-4e83-9126-3cfaaf5170561033.mspx

Pictures of Address bar and Google Search tool are screenshots, while the Instant Search tool is taken from the website above.

We all know the Internet contains a humungous amount of information, which would be far easier to search than a stack of encyclopedias. However, I’ll bet there were times when you just couldn’t find the right information for a project, or research relevant enough for an assignment. Here are some tips for searching the Internet more effectively, to get your results faster (and better).

  1. Use the Instant Search tool. (Live Search)

When you open up Internet Explorer, look in the top-right section of the page, right below the ‘minimize’, ‘restore down’ and ‘close’ options. There should be a little box with a magnifying glass on it. This is the Instant Search tool.

Type what you are looking for inside the box, and click ENTER. If you want the results of your search opened in a different tab (so the original webpage won’t be lost), click ALT+TAB instead. The results will be generated by Live Search.

If you want to access and type into the Instant Search tool without using a mouse, click CTRL+E. You can then start typing what you want to find straight away.

2. Use the Address bar/Google Search tool. (Google)

The Address bar is the rectangle at the middle of the top section of the page, where a URL is displayed and where you can type in a URL to browse. This is also where you can start your search.

Type in ‘Find’, ‘Go’ or ‘?’ followed by what you want to look for (it may be a URL, phrase, or keywords). Google-generated results will follow. Similarly, clicking ALT+ENTER instead of ENTER will enable your results to pop up in another tab.

On the other hand, you could also use the Google Search tool, which is found on the left-hand-side below the Address bar.

Type in what you’re looking for directly into the box (you don’t need to type ‘Find’, ‘Go’ or ‘?’) and click ENTER to view your Google-generated results.

3. Use multiple search engines.

There are many search engines you could use, so don’t just stick to one, because your results may vary. Just type in its URL into the Address bar and then conduct your search using the sites’ respective search tools. Examples of search engines you could use are Google (www.google.com), MSN (www.msn.com), Ask (www.ask.com), Dogpile (www.dogpile.com) or Yahoo (www.yahoo.com). Be sure to try as many as possible if at first you don’t get the results that you’re looking for.

4. Search more efficiently.

There are many ways of changing the way you look for things, to make your results more specific to the information you want.

§ Use specific terms, instead of general categories. For example, if you’re looking for information on Cocker Spaniels, don’t search under Dogs, search under Cocker Spaniels.

§ Use quotation marks “” to narrow down the search. Between the quotation marks put a specific phrase you want to look for. Your results will then only display web pages which feature the specific phrase together and not separately. For example, if you search ‘”I was”’, you would only find websites that feature the words ‘I’ and ‘was’ together. However, if you search ‘I was’, you might get websites that feature parts like ‘I am Jane. She was my friend.’

§ Use the minus sign – to ‘tell’ the search engine not to provide pages with the specific word. However, be sure not to leave space between the word after the minus sign, and the minus sign. For example, if you type ‘Jane –dog’, you would find websites with the word Jane, but not the word dog.

§ Eliminate common words, like “the”, “a”, “my”, or “of”. This narrows down the search. However, don’t do this if you’re looking for a specific title or webpage. For example, if you’re looking for a song title, include the common word, and put the entire phrase in quotation marks.

§ Use synonyms. This widens the search. If you’re stuck, use a Thesaurus (online or manual).

§ Search only on a specific website. For example, if you’re looking for an article on viruses on www.microsoft.com, don’t just type in ‘viruses’. Type in the phrase ‘site:’ followed directly by the site URL (without a space in between). I.E. ‘viruses site:www.microsoft.com’.

§ If you’re searching for pictures, use the specific tool to search for it. For example, many search engines have ‘search Images’ tools, so you don’t have to search the whole wide Web to find an image.

Hopefully, these tips will help you search for your research and information more efficiently. Good luck!

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