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ENGL 057 - Critical Connections - Gendrue: Website Searching

Google Search Tips


Google Search Tips

1. Use Advanced Google Search for more control.

2. Type "site:" to search for information within a certain website or domain. (no space after the colon)

3. Adding a ~

  • Adding a tilde (~) to your search term will return related terms.
  • Example: ~nutrition will search also nutrition, food and health

4. Phrase Search

  • By inserting quotes around an exact phase, you will search only the words you type in, in that exact order with no words in between term.
  • Example: "consumer product chemistry"

5. Boolean Operators

  • Using AND, OR, NOT can broaden or narrow a search depending on your inquiry. "AND" will give you results that contain both words. "OR" will give results about either word and "NOT" will not search the term preceding.
  • Example: Summer AND Flower, Summer OR Flower, Summer NOT flower

CRAP Test

Use the C.R.A.P test to determine whether or not a website is something you should use for research:

Currency

  • When was the site’s last update?
  • When was the information compiled originally?
  • Is the information still valid or is it out of date?

Reliability

  • Are references included that verify the information’s source?
  • Are the references provided correct and accurate?
  • Is the information consistent with other sources on the topic?
  • Are there mistakes in spelling and word usage?

Authority

  • Who is the author or organization responsible for the information?
  • What are the author’s credentials? (experience, education, academic or professional affiliations)
  • Are the expert and the webmaster the same person?

Purpose / Point of View

  • Is more than one viewpoint or opinion expressed?
  • Is the information presented as fact or opinion?
  • Is the site’s purpose to inform? To entertain? To persuade? To explain? To advocate a cause? To sell a product?
  • Does the author use emotionally charged language?

Practice Click Restraint

Video Transcript for How to Find Better Information Online: Click Restraint (upbeat music) - [Narrator] Most students think the top result of a web search is the most trustworthy. They often click on the first search result and hardly ever go beyond the first page. This is a problem because search results can be manipulated by the use of clever search terms and metadata. Companies engage in search engine optimization to push some entries to the top and move others to the bottom. Ads can appear at the top of search results, forcing other results down, too. Sometimes, this can place less trustworthy information sources above more reliable ones. Our research with professional fact checkers show that they have a different approach to evaluating search results than students. Instead of immediately clicking on the first or second result, fact checkers practice click restraint. Before clicking on any result, they first examine the titles, the URLs, and the snippets, the brief information under each result, for clues. They look for trusted sources. By engaging in click restraint, they first get a sense of the information neighborhood in which they've landed before clicking on any result. Students, by hastily clicking on the first search result, can end up on a problematic site that leads them to even more problematic sites. The result, shaky conclusions based on dubious information. Before clicking on anything, fact checkers scan the list of results. Are certain groups trying to influence the conversations? Might it be helpful to go to the second page of results? Students need to understand that search engines aren't truth detectors. The information they present needs to be deciphered. Click restraint allows students to get a general sense of the information about a particular topic before they dive in, head first. With practice, click restraint becomes a habit, a way of practicing just a bit of caution before taking a wrong turn. Spending just 15 to 30 seconds examining search results can make a big difference in students' ability to avoid misleading sources online and find trustworthy ones.