Strategic Searching on the Web

Strategic Web Searching 

  1.  Clearly define your research topic/question (Write it down)  
  2.  Choose keywords (usually 2-4 words) 
  3.  Add some helper words to refine your search. 
    •  Focus on one side of an issue:   Pro, support, con, against   
    •  Find the numbers: Facts, figures, statistics   
    • Find out what have others have done: Program, system, method, history   
    • Add a preferred source: gov, edu, museum, national, state, scientific, news
  4.  Apply search strategies to get MORE. 
    • Try Synonyms: A different word with same meaning  
    • Use Quotes to search for the exact phrase (these words in this order)
      • "White House" instead of White House 
      • "Declaration of Independence" instead of Declaration of Independence
    • Use the minus sign: to remove all sources containing that word
      • mango producers –mexico  
      • animal rights -PETA
    • Use OR: to combine several searches
      • National Park yosemite OR redwood
      • famous church Argentina OR Chile 
  5.  Record search terms tried and websites found as you do your research. 
Example Web Search
  1. Topic/question:  What can students do to prevent bullying from happening in schools?
  2. Keywords:  students prevent bullying
  3. Helper words:  against facts statistics program edu gov
  4. More strategies: none look useful
  5. Searches to try
    • students prevent bullying
    • students against bullying
    • students prevent bullying program
    • students prevent bullying program facts
    • students prevent bullying statistics gov
    • keep trying combinations until you find what you are looking for
Example Web Search
  1. Topic/question: Should football be outlawed because of the risk of head injuries?
  2. Keywords:  football outlawed risk head injuries
  3. Helper words:  against history statistics news scientific
  4. More strategies:  
    • quotes "head injury"
    • synonym for "head injury" -> concussion
    • sort of synonym for football -> NFL
    • synonym for outlawed -> banned 
  5. Searches to try
    • football "head injury" risk statistics
    • NFL concussion statistics
    • football banned concussion risk
    • news facts "head injury" football
    • concussion risk football scientific
    • keep trying combinations until you find what you are looking for

Example web search

  1. Topic/question: What do most of the people in the world eat to get protein? 
  2. Keywords:  people eat world protein 
  3. Helper words:  facts history scientific 
  4. More strategies:  sort of synonym for eat ->diet 
    • synonym for "people in the world" -> "global population" 
    • get protein -> protein source   
  5. Searches to try       
    •  world protein source facts 
    •  "global population" protein source 
    •  world diet protein scientific 
    •  world diet protein gov facts 
    • keep trying combinations until you find what you are looking for



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