Tips for Better Search Results

Tips Examples

Be specific

  • Use nouns and unique words
  • Put the most important words first
  • Use multiple terms when possible
If you were interested in "bias in newspapers" you could search for:
newspapers bias slant censorship journalism
Use quotes around phrases so the search engine will search for the words as a phrase not as separate words To look for a term, rather than search the individual words in a term, use quotes around it:
"world health organization"
Use a plus sign + in front of a word or a phrase to require its search A word or a phrase preceded by a + must be present in all pages returned
+"absentee voting" +"assisted suicide"
Use a minus sign - in front of a word to exclude its search If you wanted pages on virus but not computer virus you can prevent "computer" from being searched:
virus -computer
Use lower case letters to find words that are either lower and upper case japanese internment
"world war ii"
Use parentheses around terms that are alike. Enter connectors in capital letters (adolescents OR teenagers)
television AND children


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Original InfoRM material © 2011 by the Liberty University Jerry Falwell Library. This tutorial incorporates material from SBU Library Research Guide, a tutorial developed by the Stony Brook University Libraries, © 2004, from Inflite, a tutorial developed by IUPUI, © 2003, from Searchpath, a tutorial developed by the Western Michigan University Library, © 2001-2002, and from TILT, a tutorial developed by the Digital Information Literacy Office for the University of Texas System Digital Library, © 1998-2002. This material may be reproduced, distributed, or incorporated, provided that appropriate credit is given.