Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ENGL 105 - The Hidden Brain: Search Tips

Search Tips

  • OR = More: Combining related words and synonyms with OR tells your search engine to find results with any one of the words you entered.                                                                 Example: fracking OR “hydraulic fracturing” OR “natural gas drilling”

  • Use a thesaurus to get ideas about synonyms, or other words that are used for the same thing (e.g., cat & feline). Try thesaurus.com or merriam-webster.com.

  • Go beyond Google: Try a specialty search engine, such as Google’s Scholar database (scholar.google.com) or subject-focused tool such as medlineplus.gov for health topics or artcyclopedia.com for art topics. Consult a librarian to learn about specialty search engines in your area of study.

Searching Google

To do a Google search with the same search words already entered, click “Search” in the Google box on the “Extend Your Search” column on the right side of the results page

  • To limit to a specific domain, use site: in front of the domain name (no spaces), e.g.
  •    site:.edu   will limit a search to just .edu sites
       site:.edu OR site:.gov   will limit a search to either .edu or .gov sites
       -site:.com  will exclude .com
  • To limit to a specific website, use site: in front of the website address (no spaces), e.g.
       site:nytimes.com   will limit a search to just the N.Y. Times website        

The Atlantic                         (theatlantic.com)

The New Yorker                  (newyorker.com)

NPR                                    (npr.org)

New York Times                  (nytimes.com) 

Washington Post                 (washingtonpost.com)

Searching Website Domains

On the web, the term domain refers to the (usually) three-letter extension at the end of a web address, also known as a URL (uniform resource locater). Domains can tell you a bit about the type of site you are looking at before you even begin reading content. Here are some of the most common types:

  • .com                        commercial site
  • .org                          non-profit organizational
  • .edu                         educational site
  • .gov                         government site
  • .mx, .ca, .uk            Country designations (Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom)