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HCS204 Research Skills Guide: Websites

Google Search Tips

When using the popular search engine Google you can use symbols or words in your search to make your search results more relevant. You can also use the filters in Google to narrow your results to regions or dates, etc. When searching Google you may like to remember the following tips:

Search Tip Example
Use a hyphen to exclude words (a NOT search) student -postgraduate
Use the pipe symbol in place of OR undergraduate|postgraduate
Use a colon to search an individual site or type of domain student site:gov.au
Find a page that links to another page link:csu.edu.au
Use an * as a wildcard to replace a word in a phrase “Charles * University”
Search a number range to only retrieve results from particular years 2010...2017
Retrieve a definition of a word define:student

Limit your search to retrieving only documents in a particular format

filetype:pdf
Search news archives going back to the mid 1880's via Google news archive search Filter search to "past year" or less to get the most recent news

Using the Internet

Websites

Google Web Search

Here are some examples you might like to try in the Google Search box above:

  • qualitative|quantitative research "social work"
    The | represents an OR. In this case, you want either qualitative, quantitative or both terms. 
  • "research method" "social work"
    The double quotation marks tells Google to search for a phrase rather than individual keywords.
  • site:gov.au "social work" "research method"
    The site:gov.au asks Google to search for websites ending in the domain .gov.au. Make this more or less specific by adding to the domain (e.g. site:humanservices.gov.au to search in the Australian Government's Human Services website) or reducing it (e.g. site:.gov will search within any government website). 
  • research "social science" method
    It is best to try many variations of your search to make sure you have the best opportunity to find useful information.