We live in a time when many primary sources are PDFs, webpages, images, and social media posts. You cannot discover these with traditional academic research tools like library catalogs or databases, so knowing advanced Google search techniques is a valuable skill. As always, remember to critically analyze any information you discover.
Google's Advanced Search function is capable of more robust searching than the regular search. To access Advanced Search, click the Settings icon. Then, from the dropdown menu, select Advanced search.
The Advanced Search page might look intimidating, but remember, you do not need to fill out every field!
The first five fields give you different options for manipulating they keywords you want to search.
The remaining fields helps you narrow your results. Pay special attention to several in particular.
If you change your region in your search settings, Google will return results localized to the area you are researching. Start by clicking the Settings icon and selecting Search settings from the dropdown menu.
Near the bottom of the page, pick a country to set as your region.
Click Save at the bottom of the page when you are finished.
You can narrow your Google results by date in Advanced Search, but Google gives you better date options if you select a date range directly from the search page. Select Tools, then click Any Time. From the dropdown, select the option you want. Often, you will want Custom, which lets you pick start and end days.
You can implement many of the capabilities from Advanced Search without visiting the Advanced Search page. Google's Refine web searches page explains how to do this via certain symbols and words. Here are some we recommend.
$ in front of a number. For example:
# in front of a word. For example:
- in front of a word you want to leave out. For example,
jaguar speed -car
Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example,
.. between two numbers. For example,
OR" between each search query. For example,
marathon OR race.
site:" in front of a site or domain. For example,
Remember that websites in many countries often have country-specific identifiers in their URLs that can help you search. For example, Japanese URLs often include
.jp. To search all these sites, try