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Research Skills: Step-By-Step: Searching the Web

This guide will help you to develop your research skills and better understand the research process.

Google Search Tips

Queries are not case sensitive.


Be descriptive, but don't go overboard with the number of keywords used.


Word order matters. Use your most important terms first. 


Use double quotation marks " " to search for an exact phrase.


To allow for either of several words to appear in your search results use the OR operator (operator must be in capitals). Useful for synonyms.


When you search using Google operators or punctuation marks, don't add any spaces between the operator and your search terms. 


Use the site: feature to limit your results to a specific website or types of websites e.g.

Why Can't I Just Google It?

Source: RMIT University Library. (2021, July 20). Why can't I just Google it? [Video]. YouTube.

Can I Use Wikipedia?

Source: Newcastle University Library. (2020, May 18). Wikipedia [Video]. YouTube.

Using Subject Directories and Library Guides

Subject directories are organized indexes of subject categories where you can browse through lists of web sites created and maintained by actual humans!

Here are some examples:

Finding Grey Literature - YouTube

Grey literature is often in the form of government or scientific reports, conference proceedings or other research data that traditionally has not been easy to locate.

Good web searches can now more easily locate this kind of material.

Watch this video to find out more about grey literature.

Source: Western University. (2012, September 4). Grey literature tutorial [video]. YouTube.