Web Searching

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Developing a Web Search Strategy:

Developing a Web Search Strategy Decide if the question is specific or exploratory. Formulate and state the question. Select the appropriate Web search tool. Evaluate the search results. Repeat the previous steps until you find the answer.

Specific Question:

Specific Question A specific question is a question that you can phrase easily and one which you will recognize the answer when you find it. In other words, you will know when to end your search.

Specific Questions (cont.):

Specific Questions (cont.) Require you to start with broad categories of information and then to gradually narrow the search. Example What is the population of Bolivia? Start with World population statistics South America population statistics Population of Bolivia

Exploratory Question:

Exploratory Question An exploratory question is an open-ended question that can be harder to phrase and harder to determine when it has been answered successfully. Exploratory questions start with general questions that lead to other, less general questions.

Exploratory Question (cont.):

Exploratory Question (cont.) The answers to the questions at each level should lead you to more information about the topic you are researching.

Exploratory Question (cont.):

Exploratory Question (cont.) Example What caused the Great Depression? What events are associated with the Great Depression? What caused the events to occur? What conditions led to these causes?

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Narrowing a Search Narrow a Web search by doing the following: Add keywords. Use restricting keywords. Use phrases. Use Boolean modifiers. Search for specific media.

Narrowing a Search Using “Restricting Keywords” :

Narrowing a Search Using “Restricting Keywords” A “restricting keyword” places limits on the results your search engine returns. They are best to use when your initial search term is specific enough, but has more than one common meaning.

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For example: -The term ivy could refer to a type of plant or a group of colleges. When searching for information about the plant, you would more likely find your desired results by using the phrase “ ivy –college ” than the term ivy alone. The ‘minus’ sign eliminates all results with the word “college.”

Narrowing a Search Adding Keywords:

Narrowing a Search Adding Keywords In situations where a search term is very broad, there may be too many irrelevant concepts to exclude them effectively using ‘ restricting words .’ Therefore, ‘ Adding keywords’ is the better technique when your initial search term is broader than the object of your search. For example, if you are looking for information about controlling weeds in your yard, the search term “ weed” is too broad. Something like “ weed control” would be more appropriate. WEED CONTROL

Searching for a Phrase :

Searching for a Phrase The most common way to instruct a search engine to find a set phrase is to use quotation marks, for example: " vegetable garden. " If you select the right phrase, your results will not only be fewer in number but also more relevant. “VEGETABLE GARDEN”

Phrasing (continued):

Phrasing (continued) Today I had a student that quickly wanted to know the last name of a character in The Secret Life of Bees . She typed in the title and received 819,000 hits. I suggested that she place quotes around the title--then add the first character’s first name.

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Boolean Operators Also called logical operators A Boolean operator specifies the logical relationship between two elements it joins. Examples are AND OR NOT Search engines have become more sophisticated and do not require Boolean Operators, but a few still do.

Examples of Boolean Operators:

Examples of Boolean Operators Search Expression examples Pets AND Dogs Pets AND (Dogs OR Cats) Pets OR (Dogs AND Cats) Pets NOT Cats Pets OR Dogs

Using Boolean Operators :

Using Boolean Operators More complex search questions require more complex queries. You can broaden or narrow your search expression by using: Boolean logic Search expression operators

Advanced Searches:

Advanced Searches Each search engine follows different rules and offers different features. To obtain help for a particular search engine, examine its home page and look for a hyperlink to “Help” pages. HotBot provides a step-by-step process for conducting an advanced search.

Troubleshooting Failed Searches :

Troubleshooting Failed Searches Specifically, you should do the following when you receive few or no hit results: Check spelling. Attempt to overcome page-loading errors. Assure use of the appropriate search tool.

Checking Spelling :

Checking Spelling Misspelling search terms is one of the most common causes of search failure. It may seem obvious, but make sure you double-check your spelling the next time your search comes up empty. Library Liberry -

Handling Page Errors :

Handling Page Errors When I click on one of the links listed I may get an error that says "Page Not Found." Sometimes, even when you seem to have received great search results, you get an error like this when you click one of the links. These errors are most likely because: (1) the server that hosts the page isn't working properly, or (2) the page itself has been removed, or (3) there's a character of the URL missing.

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When you do get an error like this, you have options. You can either try the page again at a later time or, try deleting parts of the URL until you get a page to load. Once you get a page to load, you can use the links on that page to find the information you want. http://www.projo.com/blogs/ http://www.projo.com/

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