Western Kentucky University

WKU Online

Orientation for Online Learners

Finding Websites

With millions of webpages available to you, how do you find the ones that are best to use for your research topic?

Google Scholar logo
  • Google Scholar is one of the best search tools for beginning researchers. Web coverage is comprehensive and results are usually highly relevant. If you haven't done it before, try a Google Scholar - go to www.google.com and select "more" from the menu along the top, or click here to go directly to Google Scholar!
  • If you'd like to learn more about search engines other than Google, read the descriptions and ratings at Search Engine Watch.

Five Search Tips for Any Search Engine

Choose good keywords and phrases
Brainstorming before you start searching will help generate a good list of keywords and phrases. Remember to think of alternate spellings and abbreviations for your topic.
Be specific
You can create more targeted searches if you use phrases. Most search engines require that you put quotes around a phrase. Many search engines are also case sensitive.
Try different searches
Search engines use sophisticated equations to calculate the number of times your search terms appear on a page. Pages that seem to best match your search request are listed first. If the first 30 sites are not relevant, try a different search. If you are not satisfied after a few searches, try a different search engine.
Use advanced search techniques
Many search engines have advanced search capabilities such as limiting by language or type of information. Read the help screens to see which special features are available in your favorite search engine.
Browse a subject list
Locate a search engine that organizes pages by subject to find useful sites. Start with a general category and choose increasingly more specific sub-categories. The appropriate subject category will give you a list of pages on your topic available in that search engine.

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 Last Modified 7/23/13