Research skills

Internet searches

Advanced searching tips

You can use search engines more effectively by applying some advanced search features. This may help you narrow down your results to those that are relevant to you. Many search engines allow you to select an ‘advanced search’ option to make use of a range of search limits.

Using connectors and truncation (* ! ?)

  • Incorporating phrase searching " ... ", connecting terms (AND, OR, NOT) and truncation (*, !, ?) within your searches can make them more effective
  • See the Search strategies tutorial for more information.

Limiting by creation date or date of update

  • Find up to date resources or information from a specific time period.

Search a specific part of a document

  • Searching for your terms in the title or url can return more specific results.

Search a specific part of the web

  • Limit your search to results from blogs, images or videos only, for example, to find a specific type of resource.

Synonym search

  • Find synonyms for your search terms by putting a ~ in front of the term (Google).

Search for your terms within a domain name

  • Enter site: and domain name after your search terms or use any options given in an advanced search screen.

Language or country search

  • Restrict results by language or country of origin if this will help narrow down your results list.

There are many other tips available. Most search engines provide specific guidance so have a look at the ones you use regularly.