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Using Google for Research

Guide to advanced search features in Google, Google Scholar, and Google Books.

Improving Your Google Simple Search

Basic search tips 

  • Use quotation marks when searching for a phrase, for example: "common sense"
  • Quotation marks also let you search non-standard words or spellings, for example: "
  • Use OR to find pages with one or more of the words in your search, for example: moonflower OR "Ipomoea alba"

Search specific sites or domains 

Limit your search to specific sites or domains by using the command site:
Useful domain searches include: 

  • site:.edu searches educational websites
  • site:.org searches nonprofit websites
  • site:.gov searches U.S. government websites

Search for specific file types 

Search for specific document types, such as PDF, Power Point, etc, by using the command filetype: at the end of your search.
Some examples include:

  • filetype:.pdf
  • filetype:.ppt
  • filetype:.doc

Find a definition 

Use command define: to return a definition for a word, for example: define:bae, define:smh

Acknowledgment

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Nancy Pressman Levy of Princeton University for allowing us to use her exhaustive Google LibGuide as a basis for this one.