You've just been assigned a research paper and you need five sources for your bibliography. Where do you start?
Answer: This tutorial!
In Google, you can usually type full sentences and get millions of results. While this is impressive, it isn't a very efficient way to conduct research, since we rarely click past the first page. It can also be difficult to distinguish between academic sites and junk. One way to cut through the junk is to use library resources, and use them well.
With library resources, you know that most of the results will be academic in nature. The tradeoff is that you have to know how to search like a librarian. To start with, simplify your topic by picking out the most useful words.
You can't always avoid using the open web, but there are ways to search it efficiently. Many search engines automatically use AND if you include more than one keyword in your search term. However, they may use different terms for other features. Check out a search engine's Help section for more information.
|Word1 Word2||Boolean AND is automatically used between words unless otherwise indicated.|
|Word1 -Word2||A minus sign (-) excludes search results that contain Word2. (Equivalent to NOT)|
|Word1 OR Word2||OR searches for pages including either word. It must be capitalized.|
|"Exact phrase"||Quotation marks (" ") search for a phrase in the exact word order.|
|~Word||The tilde (~) searches for a word and any related synonyms.|
|Define:word||Define: searches for links to dictionary definitions of the word|
|Site:.edu||Site:(.URL ending) finds sites with a certain domain ending (.org, .gov, etc.)|
|Link:www.site.com||Link:(URL) searches for all pages that link to that particular website.|
|Filetype:type||Filetype:(type) searches only for specific file types (pdf, doc, ppt, xls, etc.)|
|Units1 in Units2||IN converts units of measurement (8 ft in cm, $100 in euros, etc.)|