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Research for Change: Web Search

A research and materials guide for the Research for Change project. Check back often for updates and lessons.

On This Page...

On this page you will find...

  • Access to improved Google results through advanced searching 
  • Tips on how to navigate the web
  • Criteria on how to evaluate web sources



To gather information for our topic based on our research needs by improving our Google results through advanced searching.

When gathering sources, please save them by using the sources document that you have attached on the left hand side. Please locate (3) three sources of information, and using the CRAAP criteria, specify at least (2) two reasons why you selected this source.

Research Needs Documents:

Period 2 | Period 5 | Period 8


Google Advanced Search

Improving your Google Searches

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


  • Fields

    • Keywords:

    • 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

    • Boolean Operators (and/or/not): indicate the relationship between your keywords by adding AND to show you want multiple words together, OR to indicate alternating words, and NOT for keywords you want omitted. 

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

    • Truncate searches

    • Similar words or phrases:

  • Filters

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

    • File Type: 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

Evaluating Online Sources

Evaluating Sources: The CRAAP Test

Much of the information on the internet is not regulated or vetted. Despite this fact, there are numerous useful and reliable sources online. Therefore, in order to utilize these, it is especially important for researchers to evaluate a web source before using it to support their ideas or inform their opinions. When using web sources, be sure to examine the:

  • Currencyis the date of publication of the sources time sensitive? Does it inform the content?
  • Relevancy: Is the information in the source related to my topic or thesis? Does it address my research needs?
  • Authority: Who is the person or group writing or editing the content of my source? Are they qualified to write or speak on the subject?
  • Accuracy: Is the content published true? Are other reliable sources documenting the same information? What is the original source/primary source?
  • Purpose: Why is this information being published (i.e. to inform/entertain/provoke/promote)? Is there any inherent bias apparent? Does the publisher have a history of such behavior?

Although not every single criteria may be applicable to every source, you should evaluate the degree to which the source is reliable or not.

Let's evaluate this example...