Strathcona High School Library

Facts & Figures: 350+ Scona Lords achieved AP Honours status in the last decade

Search Tips

6 Essential Searching Tips

1. Use key words...general words or ideas find thousand of web sites SO use the most specific words you can think of that describe your topic. In general don't type normal sentences in search engines and data bases; just use the keywords.

         For example: use sport utility vehicles instead of trucks.

         For example:  for the question: 

         Who are the members of the United Nations Security Council?
         The keywords would be:
         United Nations AND security council AND members.

2. Use quotes around phrases or names. This will find only those sites that have the words listed in that exact order.

          For example: enter "death penalty" or enter "Strathcona High School"

3. Use AND, OR, NOT (Boolean operators) to search for web pages containing the specific words and concepts you want.

  • AND lets you combine ideas and get more specific results.

          For example: environment AND Alberta will get results that mention both of these topics.

  • OR will find pages containing at least one of the words searched. Use OR when searching for keywords that have the same meaning.

          For example: "death penalty" OR "capital punishment"

  • NOT will skip pages that contain unwanted information that might otherwise show up.

          For example: If you wanted information on the planet Saturn, use Saturn NOT automobile

4. Parentheses combines the concepts and techniques. The search engine will search for what's grouped or nested inside the parenthesis first.

          For example:  ("rap music" OR "hip hop") AND censorship

5. Truncate your keywords. Go to the "root" part of the word and insert a symbol (often an asterisk *). This will expand your search to include words with multiple endings.

          For example: politic* will find the words politics, politician and political

6. Learn the search features of at least one search engine really well, including the advanced search tips. This will help you be a more effective searcher and save you lots of time in the long run.