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General resources useful to IPRO courses.

Understand Google Search

The first step of any search is to understand some basics about your search tool, and web search engines like Google are no exception.

What will (or won't) be included in your results?

For a web search engine like Google, it can be easier to think about what won't be included in your results. Obviously, anything that doesn't have a digital version won't be included. Additionally, pages that require a login often won't be included. Pages also may not be included if they don't meet standards for quality, or if the design of a webpage makes it hard for the search engine to index it.

What determines the order of results?

The specific algorithms that determine result order are typically trade secrets, and sometimes not even fully understood by the companies that use them; however, we can still make some good guesses about what influences your result order. Search terms play a big factor, but publication date, page popularity (determined by how many other websites link to a page), and any personal information the search engine can access, like your search history or location, will also play a role. With many search engines, organizations can also pay to have their result show up in the first page of results as an ad - these are usually identified as such.

Advanced Google Search

Most web search engines will have an advanced search option that allows you to refine your search. Some common ways to adjust your search for Google are listed below.

Task Symbol Example  
Search for an exact word or phrase " " "Hello Kitty" Returns results with only the full phrase, instead of including results about kitties or cats in general
Exclude a word or phrase - -feline Removes all results that contain the word "feline"
Search for an alternative word or phrase OR "Hello Kitty" OR Sanrio Returns all results that contain either "Hello Kitty", Sanrio, or both of them
Search a specific site site: Hello Kitty Returns only Wikipedia pages containing the words Hello Kitty

Google also allows you to limit your results by date directly from your search results. Click on the "Tools" button, and change the dropdown from "Any time" to your preferred time range.

Google search result with Tool button highlighted

Show additional limiters using the "Tools" button

Click on the "Tools" button to see options to limit by date and result type.

Google search result with date limiter dropdown highlighted

Filter by date

Click on the dropdown titled "Any time" and select the time range you would like to limit your results to.

Additional Resources