|Contents | Query Input | Understanding Results | Special Tools | Links
Entering Queries - Selecting Search Terms - Interpreting Queries - Crafting Queries - Google's Advanced Search Form - More on Sharpening Queries - Using Search Operators (Advanced)
|More on Sharpening Your Queries|
Tips on Refining Your Queries
Additional Search Tools
Refining a query means changing or adding to the set of search terms to do a better job of returning the pages you're seeking. Successful researchers frequently enter several queries to find what they're seeking.
The search boxes at the top and bottom of the results page show the query for the current results page. If the query uses special operators that you entered either directly or indirectly through the advanced search form, they will appear in the search box as well. To refine your query, edit what's in the search box and then click the "Google Search" button or hit the ENTER key.
Let's look at a few examples.
- Get ideas for subsequent searches by reviewing your results, including the snippets that Google returns and the pages they came from.
Should you get a flu shot this winter? TRY [ flu shot ] Many of the results refer to influenza vaccine REFINE [ flu OR influenza shot OR vaccine ]
- Exploit successful queries: look deeper within your results.
Scroll to the search box at the bottom of your results page and click on the link "Search within results." This causes Google to run a new search using your newly specified terms (those in the search box) only on the pages it found from your initial query, rather than a search over the entire web.
You can get the same results in one step fewer by simply specifying additional terms to your previous query.
- Instead of searching for related topics with a single query, divide the query into several parts. Looking for a job? By searching for tips on each aspect, you'll find more sites than by searching for sites that describe all the aspects of a job search.
USE [ job application tips ], [ cover letter tips ], [ interviewing tips ]
NOT [ job application cover letter interview tips ]
- The following table presents suggestions to narrow or focus a search, as well as tips for broadening a search that has produced few useful results. Click on a link in the table to be taken to the section in The Many Faces of Google that describes features and ways to refine your query.
Too many results? Focus the search by... Too few results? Broaden the search by... adding a word or phrase removing a word or phrase specifying the order in which you want words to appear specifying words instead of phrases using a more specific term using more general terms identifying ineffective termsand removing them including synonyms or variant word forms or using a more common version of the word's spelling limiting to a domain or site broadening the domain or searching the entire web limiting to a date range or including a date removing a date range limiting where terms occur removing redundant terms or splitting a multi-part query restricting type of file searching any type of file limiting pages in a particular language translating your search terms into other languages and searching for the translated terms limiting pages to a particular country searching the entire web
- Instead of going to the Advanced Search form, you can search for a web site by entering its address in the search box and Google returns a link to the website, as well as links to:
" Web Alerts: If you like keeping up with the latest updates and new web pages, consider setting up one or more Google Web Alerts. After you've set up a Web Alert, Google finds and delivers links to web pages via e-mail either once a day or once a week.Anatomy of a Web Address" Google Ultimate Interface: If you want to specify what you're looking for with more precision than Google's Advanced Search form offers, try out the Google Ultimate Interface, a third-party application available at www.faganfinder.com/google.html.
Examples of some uses of Google Web Alerts:
- keep current on developments in an industry
- learn where your senator or representative are being cited or quoted
- discover new websites on a certain topicWith the Ultimate Interface you can:" Soople: If you're not sure of all the types of information that you can search for with Google, check out Soople, www.soople.com/soople_int.php.
- Search with any of Google's search engines, i.e., Web Search or some of the tools in Part III Special Tools
- Find pages that have been updated between any two specific dates
- Select letters with practically every different kind of diacritical marking, such as umlauts or accent marks, from the keyboard near the bottom of the page
Note: Michael Fagan developed Google Ultimate Interface when he was a teenager.
Many of the capabilities included in Soople are described in Part II: Understanding Search Results and Part III: Special Tools.
For additional information on how to use Advanced Search, visit www.lib.monash.edu.au/vl/google/goog06.htm.
A web address takes the form of a URL (pronounced "you are ell" which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, often followed by additional directory, subdirectory and file names.
Consider the web address of the Ewing SeniorNet Computer Literacy Center (http://www.ewingsnet.com). The is the URL. The web address of the course outline for the digital photography course taught at the center is http://www.ewingsnet.com/documents/CourseOutlines/DigitalPhotography.pdf. This address contains information on the directory, subdirectory, etc. in which the page can be found.Exercises
Here's what it all means:
http transfer protocol (type of information being transferred) www.ewingsnet.com site name ewingsnet second-level domain name com top-level domain name documents directory name CourseOutlines sub-directory name DigitalPhotography file name file type
Here's a list of some common top-level domain names:
.edu educational site (usually a university or college) .com commercial business site .gov U.S. government/non-military site .mil U.S. military sites or agencies .net networks, Internet service providers, organizations .org U.S. non-profit organizations and others
Because the Internet was created in the United States, "US" was not originally assigned to U.S. domain names; however, it's used to designate American state and local government hosts, including many public schools, and commercial entities, e.g., well.sf.ca.us. The domain .pa represents Panama, unless it's followed by .us, in which case it represents Pennsylvania.
State .pa.us Pennsylvania .nj.us New Jersey .tx.us Texas
Other countries have their own two letter codes as the top level of their domain names.
Country .ca Canada .de Germany .dk Denmark .jp Japan .il Israel .uk United Kingdom .za South Africa
For more information about domains and a complete listing of them, check out http://www.allwhois.com/cgi-bin/allwhois.cgi.
To limit results to a single site or domain, specify the site name (e.g., www.ewingsnet.com or ewingsnet.com) or a top-level domain name (e.g., .com or .edu) in Google's domain selector.
This problem set is designed to give you practice with specifying more precisely what you're seeking by using the Advanced Search form. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.