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ENG102: First-Year Composition (Needham)

This guide is to be used for research by students in Catherine Needham's English 102 classes.

How librarians use Google

For better results in Google, librarians will use various strategies which include: 

Domain searching -- Limits results according to a website's top level domain.  For example, .gov (government websites), .edu (education) and .org (organization)

  • site:domain search term(s)
  • “computer mediated communication”
  • "text messaging"
  • virtual reference 

Site searching -- Limits results to a particular website

  • site:url search term(s) 

  • zombies

Boolean operators -- 

OR - Broadens searches by only requiring either of the search terms it combines to appear in the resulting webpages.

  • search term(s) OR search term(s) 
  • censorship OR suppression OR ban

NOT - Narrows results by requiring certain terms be eliminated from the search. Instead of NOT use the minus sign (-)

  • search term(s) -unwanted term(s)
  • censorship "children's literature" -"young adults"

AND - Narrows searches by requiring any of the terms appear in the resulting webpages. Google defaults to AND so it is not needed

  • censorship school libraries

Phrase searching -- Although Google looks for all of the terms entered they will not appear as phrases unless quotations are used 

  • "search phrase"  
  • "Miranda v. Arizona"
  • "friend of the court"
  • "ex officio"

Truncation -- Broadens the search to include various word endings  

  • search term*
  • child* = child, child's, children, children's, childhood
  • censor* = censor, censors, censorship

Postcode limiter -- Limits the search to a particular zip code

  • search term(s) zipcode
  • "family farm" 85083
  • "medical marijuana" 85281

Related limiter -- Limits search results to websites that are similar in content

  • related:url 

Statistics -- Use the tilde (~) to find data related to search terms

  • unemployment~statistics
  • "arizona unemployment"~statistics

Web evaluation

It is important for a researcher to evaluate any resource for reliability and usefulness.  The following are the general elements considered when reviewing a resource.   

Evaluating Resources -

  • Author/Publisher or Sponsor - What is their knowledge of the subject or expertise in the field? Do they have a vested interest in a certain point of view?  Pay close attention to an author's word choice, omissions, the limiting of debate, framing of the story, and the selection and use of sources.  Bias influences include geography, affiliations and the nature of the medium.

  • Audience - Is the information appropriate for an academic audience?  Check out any ads on the page for clues.  

  • Date - Is something more current needed?

  • Accuracy - Are there errors?  Is the resource fact or opinion based?  

  • References - Are there citations?  Are the cited sources reliable?  

Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike License Tag

All guides are available under the CC-BY-NC-SA license.