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CHEM 3123 Organic Chemistry (BA): More Searching Tips

Tips for Searching Google

While Google is frowned upon as a serious source for your research and most (if not all) of your professors will not accept a Google document as scholarly research (Google Scholar is a little bit better), it can certainly be used as an initial information finding research tool from which you can refine your ideas and gather preliminary information before exploring other credible/reputable tools and/or resources.

Here are some tips and tricks for getting "more" out of your google searches (courtesy of HackCollege.com).  If you are more of a visual learner and would like to see the below information presented as an infographic, check out the "Get More Out Of Google" link above.

Did you know there is a lot more to efficient Googling than you might think?  In a recent study on student research skills, 3 out of 4 students couldn't perform a "well-executed search" on Google.  When the success of your term paper hangs in the balance, using Google effectively is crucial, but most students surprisingly just don't know how.

Here are some crucial tips for refining your Googling, as well as, some other great places to hunt down that last study you need for your thesis.

1. How to Google

Search terms called "operators" can help you get far more specific results than you would by only using generic search terms.  Here are some of the most useful.


What You Want

NY Times articles about test scores in college, but not the SATs, written between 2008 and 2010

 

How to Google It: 

site:nytimes.com ~college "test scores" -SATs 2008..2010

site:nytime.com = site: then the url of the site only searches the pages of that site.
~college = the tilde in front of a word will also search related words, such as 'higher education' and 'university.'
"test scores" =  quotation marks around a phrase searches for the exact phrase, not each of the words separately.
-SATs = the minus sign before your search term excludes this term from the search.
2008..2010 = using the two dots will show all results from within the designated time range. 


What You Want

A report on the different air speed velocities of common swallows.  Note: don't ask Google questions.  Think about how an answer would be phrased, and search for that (i.e.., never search for "what is the air speed velocity . . . ")

 

How to Google It: 

filetype:pdf air speed intitle: veolocity of *swallow

filetype:pdf = filetype: searches only results of the file type you designate.  Can use for pdf, doc, jpg, etc.
intitle:velocity = intitle: only shows results with that word in the title (in this case, "velocity").
*swallow =  the asterisk replaces itself with common terms in your search (in this case, Red Rumped swallow and Lesser Striped swallow will both be searched, along with many others).
-SATs = the minus sign before your search term excludes this term from the search.
2008..2010 = using the two dots will show all results from within the designated time range. 

2. Google Scholar

For most projects you work on in college, simple  Googling won't do the trick on its own.  Enter Google Scholar, which exclusively searches academic and scholarly work - that is, the kind of work you'll need to be citing in your papers.


What You Want

Papers about photosynthesis by Dr. Ronald L. Green and Dr. Thomas P. Buttz

 

How to Google It: 

author:green photosynthesis "tp buttz"

author: green = this will search for papers by Green rather than papers involving the word "green."
photosynthesis = just like a normal Google search, this is where the topic you're looking for goes.
"tp buttz" = for more specific results, you can put the authors full name or initials inside quotation marks. 

3. Other Google Tricks

For most projects you work on in college, simple  Googling won't do the trick on its own.  Enter Google Scholar, which exclusively searches academic and scholarly work - that is, the kind of work you'll need to be citing in your papers.


Definitions

Good for quick word definitions.  Just put define: in front of the word you want.

define: angary


Calculator

For quick math problems, don't worry about opening your calculator app.  Just type the equation into  Google using +, -, *, / and parentheses for basic functions.

(2*3)/5+44-1


Unit Converter

Easiest unit conversion ever.  Just type what you're looking for in a sentence with  the units you have and want.

54 pounds in kilograms

4. Keyboard Shortcuts

90% of internet users don't know how to use "Command + F" to find items on a page.  If you're one of those 90%, this section is for you.*
* as 70% of students use Macs, we formatted these tips for Mac users, but many of them will work for PCs if you press "CTRL" instead of "Command."


Find on Page

The most important keyboard shortcut for research, ever.  Press "Command + F" when looking at any document or web page, type in the word you're trying to find, and presto, all instances of the word are highlighted for you.


Zoom In/Out

Sometimes online PDFs make for strained reading.  Bump up the size a few notches with  these simple commands:
"Command + the Plus" key (zooms in);  "Command + the Minus" key (zooms out).


Select the Address Bar

Doing rapid Google searches in a number of tabs can be fatiguing.  Instead of mousing up tot he address bar every time, just hit "Command" + the L" key and it's already selected.


Cycle Windows and Apps

Research on the computer is always plagues by window and app clutter that grows as your woek does.  Use "Command + ` (the key above the tab key on the left side) to cycle through windows in a certain application, or "Command + the Tab" key to cycle applications.


Screenshot

Sometimes, for whatever reason, you might need to capture the state of your  screen, or an image  from a document. "Command + Shift + 3" screen captures your whole screen; "Command + Shift + 4" lets you draw a box around a specific area of your screen you wish to capture.

5. Further Research Tips

 

Use Your Library's Website

Google should never be your only research option.  Most colleges' library web pages have links to wealths of resources at your disposal.  This is  where you can find  access to scholarly databases (such as JSTOR, and others), which publish content that you can't access for free elsewhere.


Don't Cite Wikipedia

Let's face it: we all use Wikipedia when conducting research.  It's a great first resource to familiarize one's self with a topic, but using Wiki for a research paper is a deadly academic sin.  But if you find a good wiki, check out the reference links at the bottom  for more credible sources.


Mine Bibliographies

This tip  is applicable for both digital and traditional research.  If you find a great book, study, or article, chances are it cites some other great sources.  Always thoroughly  explore the bibliographies of your research materials for leads and look up everything you find that seems promising.

6. References

http://library.uvic.ca/instruction/research/google101.html
http://www.dumblittleman.com/2007/06/20-tips-for-more-efficient-google.html
http://scholar.google.ca/inti/en/scholar/refinesearch.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/crazy90-percent-of-people-dont-know-how-to-use-ctrl-f/243840/
http://www.maclife.com/article/features/10_coolest_keyboard_shortcuts_yo_never_knew_about
http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Life/15-Keyboard-Shortcuts-You-Probably_Don-t-know.hrml

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