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How to do Internet Research

This page is written to help you get results when searching the Internet.  Using just a few resources and a search strategy, you should be able to find anything quickly. 

The first step is to review the largest Search Engines' (Google, Yahoo!, Bing (formerly Live Search, and those listed below) advanced instructions and use more than one Search Engine.  Search Engines index different pages and have different abilities.   If you take a few minutes to review the advanced commands of the top Search Engines and some of the other resources on the Internet, you will save hours of time and you will almost always find what you are looking for. 

Find U.S. schools with Library of Science Degrees from Info Pro Lindsay Samuels: 

Search Engines (Major Search Engines advanced pages only.  Results are compiled by automated robots that search for and index web pages: good for specific searching.)  Top Search Engines (based on popularity):  Google, Yahoo!, MSN Live, Ask, AOL Search

Google Advanced search help; Google Advanced page

Yahoo! Advanced search; Yahoo! shortcuts and More Yahoo! shortcuts

Bing Advanced (formerly Live search) search options

Ask Search Tips and Ask Advanced search

Gigablast Advanced search

Search Engine Reference

Web Searching Tips from the experts at Search Engine Watch

Choose the Best Search Engine for Your...(search) from Noodle Tools

Best Search Tools Chart from InfoPeople

Pandia All-in-One List - Search Engines and Directories

UC Berkeley's Finding Information on the Internet - A Tutorial

Randy Guffey's Thorough Research web log

Meta Search Engines (These portals search several Search Engines at the same time - good for general searching)  

Beaucoup        Dogpile        Clusty       Pandia Metasearch        Findelio

Ixquick           Kartoo           Mamma          Search-22       Search dot com  

Gateways (Results are compiled and indexed by humans - subjects are more specific and better organized than search engines, good for precise searching)

Librarians Index to the Internet           WWW Virtual Library         

Open Directory Project       Internet Public Library      The Digital Librarian

Blog Search Engines (Results compiled from Web Logs, Wikis, Social Sites and Micro-Blogging sites. Results vary due to the rapid and continuous change within these sources)

Google blog search               Icerocket          Technorati 

Bloggernity                     Blog Pulse        Blogdigger

Bloglines           Yahoo! Blog Search          Ask Blog Search

Flookie         Blog Search           Plazoo

Read a Blog      Twitter Search Engine

Developing a Search Engine Strategy 

"For any given search there is a vocabulary, slang, or other unique word set that will make finding relevant results for that search easier."  Tara Calishan, Web Search Garage, Prentice Hall books, 2004.

  • Identify the question, determine what you do not know and what the easiest information is to find (start there).  

  • Establish a system to organize the data: a Database, Spreadsheet, Word Processing document, etc. Do this early and keep track of what you find.

  • Expect to run several searches, refining your search as you see results.  Be patient. 

  • Find the terminology, jargon and lingo of the subject and use this to frame your questions and search terms.

  • Using a Search Engine to form your question, use quotation marks around your search term to require the exact phrase (or use options in the Advanced section of the Search Engine).  Look at the results you got and then modify your search term by requiring or excluding words or phrases:

    • If you wish to search within the results found for your original search term, use plus (+) or minus (-) to add (require) or subtract (omit) additional terms immediately after your search term.  Most Search Engines also recognize AND or NOT to substitute for + and -.  You can keep adding or excluding words or phrases until you narrow down the results.  Example search on Google, exclude brackets [ ] in your search:

      • [ "researching the Internet" ] finds over 46,000 hits

      • modify the search term to search within those 46,000 hits:  [ "researching the Internet" +jobs ] narrows it down to over 800;

      • modify the search term again to search within that 800: [ "researching the Internet" +jobs -federal ] finds over 500, and so on.  You can keep adding or excluding words or phrases until you find a manageable number of results.

    • If your search term added to plus (+) and minus (-) phrases did not find what you were looking for, start over with a new search term.  Alternatively, use another Search Engine since they index different content, trying the same search phrases.

  • Look at your search as a process that evolves, altering your search terms and phrases as you find new information.  Keep looking at results and modifying, look for words or terminology that describes what you are looking for.

  • Locate experts in leading industries, associations, universities, government agencies or lobbyists representing the subject. Call and ask your questions.

  • Think of how the web site you are looking for would be constructed.  What phraseology might they use to get their message across?  Think "outside the box" in how something might be described or the words that might be used on a web site you are looking for.

  • Be persistent:  keep looking at results and evaluating what your search is finding, then adjust your search phrase.  With patience, you should discover what you are looking for.

Training:  UC Berkley Research-Quality Web Searching tutorial

If you still cannot find what you are looking for, contact us for a free consultation.  Telephone USA (239) 821-4575, email

Also visit our Web Log, "Thorough Research" for more tips, tricks and techniques to improve your Internet search skills.


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USA (239) 821-4575


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