With over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year, it's no surprise that Google is a great resource for your research needs. But what if I told you that MOST of you aren't doing it right? And what do I mean by not doing it right?
Advanced Search Functions for eLearning Research
Google offers many different advanced search functions which they call Punctuation, Symbols & Operators in Search; however, most people don't use these search functions and in most cases even know about them.
Here are my top 5 favorite advanced Google search functions:
- Use Quotes: Adding double quotes around a group of words will help Google understand that you are searching for a specific phrase. ie. “finance statistics” canada
- Search a specific site: If you want the results of your search to come from a single site, Google allows you to do that as well. ie. Case study site:www.litmos.com
- Search specific domain extensions: Let’s say that you think the “Search a specific site” feature is pretty cool, but you want to take it a step further and want your results to only provide search results from government sites (domain name ends with .gov); this is how you would do it. ie. Case Study site:.gov
- Cut the fat: Now let’s say you want to do a search, but you don't want to search results that contain a specific word. You can us a minus sign (-) to let Google know that you don't want pages with that keyword to show up in your results. Note that the hyphen (-) in this example does not have a space next to the keyword that you are trying to exclude. ie. case study -psychology
- Somewhere in between: If you want Google to do a search for “this or that,” you can actually tell the search engine this by including OR (must be all caps) or the pipe symbol (|) in between the two words you want. This will expand the results based on the X set of words you include. ie. chicken | beef OR pork
BONUS TIP: Don’t restrict yourself to just one of these advanced search features; mix and match these tips to become an uber google search master.
Is that it?
As you may or may not know, there are plenty of other advanced search functions that can be useful to you out there and even fun Google hacks, but these were my favorite 5. If there is enough interest I will introduce a few more in a future post. Can’t wait for my next post and want to see more? Click Here
I hope this helps you with your future research when probing for information, stats or anything else on Google.
Find these useful? Have your own favorite advanced search functions you use for instructional design or elearning research? Comment below and tell us about it.