Start by entering a basic name or word. If you're looking for a place or product in a specific location, enter the name along with the town or zip code.
Search with an exact phrase - Use Quotation Marks
Put quotation marks around words "[any word]" to search for an exact phrase in an exact order. Keep in mind that searching with quotes might exclude relevant results. For instance, a search for "Alexander Bell" will miss pages that refer to Alexander G. Bell.
Don't worry about punctuation
Search ignores punctuation. This includes @#%^*()=\ and other special characters.
Use descriptive words
The more unique the word, the more likely you are to get relevant results.
Include or ignore words and characters in your search
Highlight common words and characters such as the and & if they are essential to your search (as in a movie or book title) by putting quotation marks "the" around them. You can also use the minus - sign to specify particular items you don't want in your results, like ingredients in a recipe.
The search engine (google) or the database you use will look for your keywords in specific fields such as the title or abstract.
Databases have controlled vocabulary which helps you search for subject headings and specific words in the title, abstract, etc. Use the Thesaurus and subject terms listed to help you narrow your search and use the words specific to the database.
Google has algorithms for its search results.
Google and most search engines combine your keywords without you putting in the AND between them. It will find sites that include both.
Example: cancer and children
If you add OR to a search you will get way more results because the search engine will look for all sites that have each of those terms.
Example: cancer or children
NOT is term that allows you to leave out terms. You can also use a minus sign. The minus sign must follow a space.
Example: cancer not children
Example: nursing - children