Using Google for your term papers is nothing unusual anymore. Google is THE source of information these days. Even more surprisingly is that in a recent study on student research skills only 3 out of 4 students could perform a well-executed search on Google.
To change that, here are some tips on how to Google your way up to an A+ and some other good ideas on how to find crucial information.
With the search term called “operators” you can find much more specific results than with the usual Google search.
Let’s say you want to find NY Times articles about backpacking in college. But you want to exclude Europe and only Google articles written between 2008 and 2010. How would you Google that?
You type in the search bar the following:
site:nytimes.com ~college “Backpacking” –Europe 2008..2010
site:nytimes.com: You will only search the pages of the entered site. In this example, it is the nytimes.com.
~college: Will search related words such as “higher education” or “schools”.
“Backpacking”: Searches for the exact word/s you enter.
-Europe: Excludes this term from the search.
2008..2010: Shows all results within this time range.
Let’s say that the next thing you want to find on the internet is a report of the determination of the earth’s gravity field spherical harmonic coefficients.
Most people would ask Google a question like “what is the determination of…?”, but Google doesn’t answer questions. You need to think how an answer would be phrased to your question and go from there. Type in the search bar:
filetype:pdf gravity intitle:earth of *spherical
filetype: Searches only for the inserted file type such as .pdf, .doc, .jpg, etc.
intitle:earth: Only shows results with the entered word in the title.
*spherical: Replaces itself with common phrase, in this example such as spherical harmonic coefficients.
Another example on how to find things through Google is relevant if you are looking for a specific paper. Let’s say you are looking for a paper about photosynthesis written by Dr. Roland L. Green and Dr. Thomas D. Buttz. Your search bar should say:
author:green photosynthesis “tp buttz”
author:green: The search will go for papers written by the addressed author but not for papers including the word green.
Photosynthesis: Here goes the topic you are looking for, just like the usual Google search.
“tp buttz”: For more specific results you can add additionally the authors name or initials.
If you are looking simply for a definition enter:
You can enter any word you need a definition for.
If you can’t find your calculator you can also enter your math problems in Google by using +, -, * and /.
Also units can be converted easily with Google:
58 Fahrenheit in Celsius
One more advice before you start to Google: Avoid using Wikipedia for citation.
Wikipedia is a great resource to get familiar with the topic you are interested in or writing about. But to use Wikipedia for a research paper is an academic no go! Our advice: If you find a good Wikipedia page use the references at the bottom to Google for more credible information.