Skip to main content

The Tambo Paper: A Guide: Internet Searching

A list of references and tools to help you successfully navigate and complete your research paper

Google Search

How Searching Works

Google Advanced Searching

Google Advanced Search:

The lesser known of google’s searching capabilities, advanced Google search allows you to tailor your search results by a number of different fields

 

Searching the Web

Use the following tips in order to improve and narrow your internet searching:

 
  • Phrase searching: when searching on Google enclose your keywords within a phrase (ex. "Coal and the industrial revolution"). The search engine will only look for those words within that order - this will limit your results

  • File Format searching: by specifying a file type (ex. coal industry + filetype:pdf) you will limit your results to just that file type. Often journals and primary documents will be saved as a certain file type

  • Domain searching: limiting your search results to academic or government sites will yield you more accurate results (ex. Coal industry site:edu)

  • Related searching: If you want to find new websites with similar content to a website you already know of, use the related:somesite.com modifier (ex: related:nyt.com)

  • Reverse Google Image Search: you can search using your own image as a term and see what web results may come up. A great way to find some basic historical context for an image.

Evaluating Web Sources

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search Tips

Finding recent papers

Your search results are normally sorted by relevance, not by date. To find newer articles, try the following options in the left sidebar:

  1. click "Since Year" to show only recently published papers, sorted by relevance;
  2. click "Sort by date" to show just the new additions, sorted by date;
  3. click the envelope icon to have new results periodically delivered by email.

Locating the full text of an article

Abstracts are freely available for most of the articles. Alas, reading the entire article may require a subscription. Here're a few things to try:

  1. click a library link, e.g., "FindIt@Harvard", to the right of the search result;
  2. click a link labeled [PDF] to the right of the search result;
  3. click "All versions" under the search result and check out the alternative sources;
  4. click "Related articles" or "Cited by" under the search result to explore similar articles.

If you're affiliated with a university, but don't see links such as "FindIt@Harvard", please check with your local library about the best way to access their online subscriptions. You may need to do search from a computer on campus, or to configure your browser to use a library proxy.

Getting better answers

  • If you're new to the subject, it may be helpful to pick up the terminology from secondary sources. E.g., a Wikipedia article for "overweight" might suggest a Scholar search for "pediatric hyperalimentation".

  • If the search results are too specific for your needs, check out what they're citing in their "References" sections. Referenced works are often more general in nature.

  • Similarly, if the search results are too basic for you, click "Cited by" to see newer papers that referenced them. These newer papers will often be more specific.

  • Explore! There's rarely a single answer to a research question. Click "Related articles" or "Cited by" to see closely related work, or search for author's name and see what else they have written.

Source: Google