Conducting Web Searches



Choosing Search Terms

Whether you are searching the Web or searching a library database, there are some common search strategies you can use to improve your search results.


The first is choosing appropriate search terms or keywords. Begin by thinking about the words and phrases that describe your topic. For instance, if you are researching Privacy Rights, your keywords might include:

Now think about whether there are other terms that could also be used to describe your topic, including synonyms, related terms, or words and phrases that have similar meaning, such as:

Note that you don't have to capitalize proper nouns. Searching for "The Patriot Act" or "the patriot act" will get you the same results.


Boolean Searching

Boolean searching allows you to join concepts for more efficient searching. Use Boolean Operators to connect your terms:


Some search engines assume the use of Boolean operators within your keyword or phrase searches. The most common of this being Google, which assumes the use of "AND" between words and phrases. The use of the Google advanced search allows you to employ other Boolean operator terms and combinations.


 Toggle open/close quiz question

Value: 1
Match the items.
The task is to match the lettered items with the correct numbered items. Appearing below is a list of lettered items. Following that is a list of numbered items. Each numbered item is followed by a drop-down. Select the letter in the drop down that best matches the numbered item with the lettered alternatives.
a. internet OR web
b. internet NOT www
c. privacy AND internet


Truncation or "Wild Card" Symbols

Use the Truncation symbol to search for words with a common root and different endings, for example: "photograph*" will retrieve photography, photographer, and photographs. Different databases use different truncation symbols, including *, ? and $. This is a great trick that saves lots of searching time when used skillfully.


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