Google Search Operators

Tech Tips for Tuesday

Do your students know how to use Google? Stupid question, right?

Most high-school students will instantly take any discussion topic and type the 
most obvious words into a search field, and bam! Five million hits! They look at the first five or six, and use the information in those linked resources in the paper they’re writing for you.

How good are those results? Aren’t they filled with 
duplicates and poor-quality information? Worse, aren’t the resources often one-sided, favoring Western sources over sources from the developing world, and popular sources over academic sources?

You can pre-filter your Google search results based on the
address of the server. For example, if you know you need something in India, you can begin your search terms with the characters site:in. The letters “in” are the Internet country code for India. Similarly, you can limit your results to only articles published by academic organizations using the site:edu code; to further restrict your results to only pages on a Stanford server.
Here are some sample searches, showing the progressive filtering as you use site to restrict servers:
  • pearl harbor (32,000,000 results, including commercial and American servers)
  • site:jp pearl harbor (117,000 results, from servers in Japan only)
  • pearl harbor (39,000 results, from academic servers in Japan only)
To learn about “site” and other filtering options, Google this: Google search operators

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