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Navigating Online Resources - Faculty PD November 20, 2015: Google Search Tips

Keyword Search: Brainstorm

  1. Choose words you think will appear on the page.
  2. Focus on key ideas/concepts - no extra words.
  3. Consult subject database to collect more terms/"specific phrases"
  4. Do NOT include your entire research question - use only keywords
  • Do:  chocolate health benefits
  • Do NOT:  What are the health benefits of chocolate?

Use "Quotes" to Search for an "Exact Phrase"

Put quotes around two or more words to search for that exact phrase:

"dark chocolate"

"milk chocolate"

"renewable energy"

"climate change"

"to be or not to be"

Search a Particular Domain or Website

To search only .edu websites

site:edu   chocolate

To search only .gov websites

site:gov  chocolate

To search only a particular website - ex. National Institutes of Health  chocolate


  • NO SPACE between colon and domain/website
  • Works for any top level domain (.com, .org, .gov, .edu, .mil) or website


Google Search Tips Video

Use "Google Advanced Search"

  1. Start Google search and get results list
  2. Click on gear in upper right hand corner
  3. Select "Advanced Search"
  4. HINT:

Must start typing in the Google search box in order for gear to appear on right.  



To Remove Unwanted Results: Use minus -

To remove unwanted results from search:

Use minus -

To search chocolate, but not Chocolate Thunder (Darryl Dawkins)

chocolate -thunder

To search salsa, but not salsa dancing

salsa -dancing

To search Bono (U2), but not actor/Congressman Sonny Bono or pro bono 

bono -sonny -pro


NO SPACE between minus sign and unwanted word




OR: Means MORE

Use OR to search synonyms of the same idea

"global warming" OR "climate change"

chocolate and health OR benefits OR flavonoids

chocolate health OR benefits OR flavonoids


  • OR must be ALL CAPS



Truncation: Word Variations

Many words have multiple variations and how to do you pick the correct one?  To solve this problem, you can have Google search all variations from the root word by using an asterisk *.  For example, if you were searching for information on France's economy, you could search France econom* 

The econom*  will find results with all forms of the word: