December 2, 2013


Google search, the number one search engine, is also the number one tool used to write college papers and assignments, research articles and the mighty Thesis. The search box on the homepage of Google is like the answer to life's all questions. College wouldn't be possible without Google search. Well, it would, but it would be a whole lot difficult.


Using Google search, along with its different features and operators, we can find almost anything that is published on the internet. Those things we find through Google are a great help in our researches and assignments. Google has a lot of tools and operators that you can use to narrow down your search results.

Here are 10 tips on how to use Google search efficiently for finding exactly what you want:

1) Searching Only a Specific Website

    Using the site: Operator
Suppose, you want to search only a single website and that website does not have a search feature or that website's search feature is not showing the result that you want. In such cases, use the site: operator to search that inclusively with Google. You will be using typing site:websitetosearch.com search keywords.

For example: You want to search lawcommission.gov.np for dairy act, you just go to Google search and type

site:lawcommission.gov.np dairy act

This would search the law commission website of Nepal for dairy act. The most relevant results will be on the top.

2) Find a Certain Type of Document

    Using the filetype: operator
If you want to find only a certain type of document such as pdf or doc, you can easily use filetype: operator to define the type of file that you want.

For example: You are looking pdf files related to the topic Cognitive Dissonance. You will type the following in search-

filetype:pdf Cognitive Dissonance

Adobe Reader pdf documents related to Cognitive Dissonance will be displayed in the search results. You are more likely to find publications this way.

3) Search for Exact Keywords

    Using quotations ""
Sometimes while searching, you will want to find pages which contain the exact keywords in the order that you type in. Those pages have a high chance of being relevant to what you are searching for. For this, you can use the quotation operator to surround "your keywords".

For example: In the search box type

"how to prepare for a job interview"

You will come across pages that contain this exact keyword in the same order.

4) Exclude Certain Words

    Using -Minus Sign
If you want to exclude a certain undesired keyword from your search results, you can use the -sign, exactly in front of the keyword(s) that you want to exclude.

For example: If you are searching for Justin and don't want results about Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake, you will type the following into the search box-

Justin -Bieber -Timberlake

Most celebrity news and articles related to Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake will be excluded from your search results. This is just an example.

5) Use Wild Cards

    Using * Operator
If you forget a certain part of a phrase that you are searching for, then you can use the asterix (*) operator to fill in the blanks.

For example: You remember a Consumer Behavior book called Consumer Behavior and then you only remember the final word of the title of this book which is "Being". For completing the blanks in between just type in the search box-

Consumer Behavior * Being

The part in the asterix will be filled up automagically and intelligently by Google. You will come with results such as Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having and Being.

6) Search for Title

    Using intitle: Operator
If you want to search for webpages or documents that have a certain keywords included in their document title, then you will be using intitle: operator.

For example: To search for pages having the title Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, And Being you will have to type-

intitle:"Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, And Being"

Notice, how I combined two Google search operators intitle: and "quotation marks" to specify the topic that I am searching for. That brings us to our next point that is

7) Combine Search Operators

You can easily combine search operators that I have listed in tips 1 to 6 above. Using this technique, you can further refine your search results.

For example: Search for-
  • filetype:doc consumer behavior * being intitle:chapter
  • site:answers.yahoo.com Hollywood -"tom cruise" intitle:"action movies"
The first one searches for Microsoft Word documents which have the keyword Chapter in the title and contain Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having and Being keyword. You are basically supposed to get the written chapter summaries of this book.

The second search is just not normal and I do not know why anyone would search for anything absurd like it. I just gave it as an example and the search is pretty self-explanatory. Give it a try.

8) Use Google Scholars and Google Book Search

Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com) is a knowledge mine filled with scholarly articles. You can search through scholarly literature from different disciplines. You can go through books, abstracts, theses, research articles, published journals and what not. These are useful to for literature reviews and to bring in other researched facts to your paper.

You can search by using different operators such as-
  • author:"Author Name" - To search for papers by a certain author
  • "Title of the paper" - To search for scholarly articles with the exact title match
You can easily cite those papers for bibliography using APA format, sort through them by published year and create alerts when topics of your choice are included. Google Scholar is a great resource for students.

Also try Google Books (http://books.google.com) and search for what you want there. You will find matching results directly from books. Those are helpful if you want to get some in-depth knowledge in your topic.

9) Find Related Websites

    Using related: operator
You can find similar websites like the ones that you know of to expand your information sources.

Example query-

related:nepjol.info

To find sites which are similar to the Nepal Journals Online website- nepjol.info

10) Use Google For Calculations

Use Google to quickly perform different calculations and conversions when you are online.

For mathematical calculations. Example Search for division- 4089/3
For currency conversion. Example search for USD to NPR conversion- 44.50 USD = NPR
For converting units. Example search- 50 kilogram = pound
Find meaning of words. Example search- define:flamboyant