Brittany Tharph

Brittany Tharph

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6 Ways to Optimize You're Online Research

Online research has all but becomes ubiquitous. Anyone can enter a query into a search engine and find millions of related websites. However, there are ways you can improve your online research skills. Here are six tips for helping you do so:

1. Narrow your search by using specific terms

If you are interested in finding relevant information about do math homework topic, such as how to wire a circuit breaker box, you need to use specific terms. If you just type in a general topic, such as "electricity," you will be inundated with results, many of which won't be applicable to your search. Rather than weeding through literally thousands of results, save yourself some time by using the right terms at the beginning of your search!

2. Narrow your search by using specific operators

There are a variety of operators (such as minus (-), plus (+), wildcard (*), and or (OR)) that allow you to narrow your search quickly and efficiently. The minus operator will let you remove unwanted results. For example, if you want to find non-Disney cartoons, you can search "cartoons -Disney." The plus operator will make sure that all of the words you want to include are in the results that appear. For example, look at the differences in the results of the search "+track +field" instead of just searching "track and field." Using the first search provides several hundred search results, while the second delivers nearly 45 million results. The wildcard operator lets you search your term along with any terms that might go with it. This is helpful when you are trying to remember a quotation or a word. Finally, the OR operator will deliver results containing one topic or the other. Compare using the search "track OR field," which includes race track information and mathematical field information, with searching "+track +field," which includes pages largely dealing with the sport of track and field.

3. Narrow your search by using quotation marks

A great way to quickly narrow your search if you are looking for a specific title or quotation is to put your search in quotation marks. But remember - this only works if you use the exact quote!

4. Widen your search by using base words

Use the base or root words rather than adding suffixes like "-s" or "-ing." If you search for "searches" instead of "search," you will filter out possible results.

5. Widen your search by using a variety of search engines

If your default browser turns up some good information but you still need more, try typing the same search into several different search engines. You will come up with some different results, which can give you a wider range of information.

6. Save time by setting a time limit for yourself

Sometimes your online research can take over, and you get into the mode of continuing to look for more or better information. Set a time limit for yourself so that you can make sure to get to the point of your research - writing a paper!

Online research can be a great way to find information quickly and easily, but it can also be a very easy way to waste time. If you want to optimize your online research, you want to find good, specific information in a fast and efficient manner. By learning simple tricks to narrow (or widen) your search and to save time, you, too, can optimize your online research.

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