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Google Search Tips: Getting Started

Before you search...

  • Determine your topic or what information you are looking for
  • Choose as many descriptive search terms or keywords as you can
    • Developing a list of keywords is a good practice for any research project. 
    • Too few words may give poor results
    • Select nouns and avoid words ignored by search engines, also called stop words
  • Explore your Search Settings to set your Google preferences
    • Setting a safe search filter, number of results per page, view or edit your search history
  • Learn to use the Google Toolbar to set up personal settings like bookmarks for your favorite pages

Google search conventions...

  • Google ignores most punctuation and symbols except
    • Dollar sign when used to indicate price
      • Fiat car $500 gives different results than Fiat car 500
    • Hyphen when used to connect words. 
      • in-take forms
    • Symbols used to convey meaning 
      • programming languages :C++
      • musical terms: G#
    • Symbols used in social media
      • Use hanshtags (#) in front of a word: #throwbackthursday
      • Use at symbols (@) in front of a word: @twitter
  • ​​Searches are not case sensitive
    • Keywords or search terms can be entered in lower or UPPER case or a coMBinatiON
    • Exception: Boolean operator OR must be in all caps 
      • ​Learn more about Boolean operators
      • To find tacos in multiple cities:
        • Tacos Chicago OR Austin
  • ​​​Word order matters 
    • Google ranks the first word slightly higher than the second, the second slightly more than the third, etc. 
  • Google uses automatic word stemming
    • Google searches for all possible word variations
      • Diet returns results for diets dieting dietary

Library Mission Statement:   

The Ivy Tech Community College Libraries are full partners in the educational and workforce development mission of the College. The libraries teach research strategies, support the curriculum, and encourage independent and lifelong learning by providing the space, information resources, instruction, and related services essential for academic success.  The Libraries advance information literacy, critical thinking, and collaborative learning in a welcoming environment that promotes, and is enriched by, the diverse cultural and intellectual interests of students, faculty, and community.


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