Keywords and Phrases + Syntax or Advanced Search Forms
Learn to switch the way you think, try different tactics.
Syntax syn`taks/`syn,taks/ Nouna connected or orderly system: harmonious arragement of parts or elements.
The following slides describe search methods as they relate to google. However, the same basic ideas can be applied to all search engines and scholarly databases. With any database, the best way to learn and become a true search ninja is to use the advanced search forms and then look the syntax that was generated. From this you can deduce the syntax that was used and how you can use that same syntax directly for future searches.
Examples of Syntax - * + ~ ( ) site: filetype: inurl: OR intitle:
Ninja Basics The more search terms you enter, the more focused and specific your results will be. ex. Airport security Airport security full body scans Airport security full body scans ethics
Ninja Basics You can put quotation marks around a phrase to force google to find those words exactly as you have written them. ex. Airport security full body scans
Ninja Basics Use OR and parentheses to give google alternative terms to search. ex. (airport OR airline) (ethics OR rights OR risk)
Ninja Basics The minus sign tells google to exclude web sites that contain these terms. ex. full body scan -MRI -CAT scan
Ninja Basics Use site: to specify results from a particular web site or top-domain. ex. Airport security full body scans site:gov Airport security full body scans site:nytimes.com Airport security full body scans (site:nytimes.com OR washingtonpost.com)
Ninja Basics Use intitle: to force google to find those words in the title of the web page. ex. intitle:airport intitle:security full body (ethics OR rights)
Ninja Basics Use the tilde (~) to tell google to find related words. ex. ~airport ~sercurity ~ethics
Ninja Basics Get really fancy and put it all together! ex. intitle:security (intitle:airport OR intitle:airline) full body ~scan ~ethics