Tips for Online Searching

Struggling to search effectively? Check these tips out!

“ What homework do you have?”

“ I have to research for my paper. It’s going to take forever.

As students move to higher grades, they face one of their enemies: research. One of the major barriers that make research seem so onerous for students is the way in which they search for their information and the time they have to dedicate. However, it seems that the reason why it is so difficult lies in the ineffective use of search engines. Yet fear not, for Blueprint is here to give you some tips on making your search more efficient!

  1. Keep track of your info with Diigo

A bookmarking application that allows users to annotate, highlight, and keep track, Diigo is one of the main apps that the KIS EdTech recommends for effective research. A problem that most students encounter is reading online; an anonymous student stated that it is “inconvenient to read articles online because it is hard to keep track of the facts [she] wants to use.” However, Diigo enables users to highlight information on any website wherein they can revisit to view the information that they want to use in their research paper or presentation. It will for no doubt enhance your reading flow and help you to customize your research. To obtain this app, it’s simple: go to Google Chrome Store and download it! 

Check out the link to find out more: “Diigo Extension for Google Chrome” by Ileane Smith 

  1. Get in-depth articles with Google Scholar


Google Scholar is a search engine for those who are looking for scholarly articles, findings, and/or opinions. Here, you can find anything from the oldest published text to the latest news article about a topic, from authors of various discipline, ranging from science to cooking. Google Scholar is especially advantageous if you want to learn about a topic of interest in depth, since most of the articles are detailed and analytical.

  1. Get specific with  “ “

Looking for a specific topic/ issue? Then quotation marks will be your best friend! If you want to find sources that use a certain term or phrase explicitly, then you can insert quotation marks around the desired search word. By doing so, Google collects websites that use the exact phrase in their works–a potent method of narrowing your search.

  1. Narrow down with + and –


Another efficient way to constrict your search results is to add an addition sign after a phrase. When doing so, the search engine recognizes that you want to include the term after the addition sign as well. This will greatly reduce your search time as you will be given more accurate results. Likewise, if you insert a hyphen, you will get results that exclude the word after the hyphen. For example, as one of the EdTech teachers gave, if you support Donald Trump and don’t to read anything negative about him, you could put in your search tab “Donald Trump -racism.”

  1. Find the line you are looking for with *


Often called the “asterisk wildcard”, the use of asterisk is useful in that it leaves a placeholder that will be filled in by the search engine. This is particularly helpful when you don’t remember the lines of a famous Shakespearean line or even song lyrics. Simply put, all you have to do is type in: “to*or*to*:*is*question.” And guess what? In a split second you’ll get one of Shakespeare’s famous lines: “to be or not to be: that is the question”

  1. Get similar website results by “Related:______”

When you want to use a variety of sources but want sites that are similar to the one you are reading, one way is to use type in “”, __ being the link that you want the results to be similar to. For instance, if you put “related:”, Google yields links that give you sites congruent to So next time when you want to find something that’s outside of eBay, try using this trick!

Researching online can be challenging. However, with these simple six tips, the time you spend on Google will dramatically decrease and give you more accurate results. So start utilizing these tips to enhance your research!

—Sarah Se-Jung Oh (’19)

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*Many of these online search engine tools are derived from existing online tips pages

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