Ten Google Search Tips for Students

by Richard Byrne

richard@byrne.media

Twelve years ago I had student come up to me in the library and declare, "Mr. Byrne, Google has nothing on this!" Her topic was the Civil War. It was then that I realized my students needed a bit more guidance on how to conduct online research. In the years since that incident in the library I have spent a lot of time developing search lessons for students to help them become better at search. All of the lessons that I've created use at least one of the following ten tips.

Search within a search result.

  • One of the worst offenses students commit while conducting web searches is only glancing at the webpages they open from the search results page. Or worse yet, only reading the brief snippet that appears below the links in a search results page. The reason for this behavior that students often give is “it takes too long to read the whole page.” To remedy this teach your students to use “Control F” (Windows) or “Command F” (Mac) when they open a webpage from the search results page. Control F or Command F allows you to search within any webpage for any letter, word, or phrase. This also works for searching within PDFs and other documents that students may download during a web search.

Open the advanced search menu.

  • The advanced search menu is often overlooked by students. It is found by opening the gear/ sprocket icon that appears in the upper right corner of the search results page. In that menu you will find tools for refining search results by file type, domain, language, and more. Here’s a demo of how to refine search results according to date. This video demonstrates how to search by file type.

Search Google Books & Newspapers

For the sake of keeping this email under 1,000 words the rest of the list of tips and tutorials is available in this Google Document. The document is an excerpt from the updated version of the Practical Ed Tech Handbook that will be released next week.

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