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Using Resources

Searching

Using Google: simple

Entering keywords

To carry out a simple search using Google, you need to type your subject keywords into the search box provided and press the 'enter' key or click on the 'search' (or 'go') button. In order to obtain relevant results you will normally need to enter more than one keyword. The simple search box is usually on the search engine's homepage. It may not be marked as the simple search, but may be the only search box there.

Combining keywords

It is important to know how the search engine will combine the keywords that you enter into the search box. Google searches for all the words that you enter in the search box. For example if you type child poverty Africa into the search box, Google would search for pages that contain the words child AND poverty AND Africa as if you were using the Boolean AND operator.

Not all search engines search for all the words you type in the search box. Some search engines may search for any of the words. For example if you type child poverty Africa a different search engine might return pages that contain the words child OR poverty OR Africa as if you were using the Boolean OR operator. Therefore your search would be less specific.

You can find out how a search engine combines the words that you enter in the search box by looking at the help pages. There is often a link to the help pages on the homepage of the search engine, you might find it useful to read the Google help pages as an example.

For further explanation of Boolean operators and help to combine keywords effectively yourself, look at the constructing a search string section of this tutorial.

Phrase searching

Another way of combining your keywords is a phrase search. To conduct a phrase search type quotation marks around the phrase that you want to search for. For example "child poverty in Africa", this will find web pages that contain this exact phrase. It would not return a web page that contained these words in different parts of the same web page. This is more specific than a search that simply combines all the words.

Try it yourself

Using the Google simple search box, try searching for the words child poverty Africa. Then search for the phrase "child poverty in Africa" and notice the difference in the number of results returned.

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