Friday, September 27, 2019

2019 #DTA: #VWEDU: Search tips from a digital coach: DTA content page

Search tips from a digital coach.  
DTA content page
Updated 10/26/2019
Bits of advice for searching the web. DTA content pages are assembled and written for use as Digicoach advice. This article is explicitly licensed Public Domain (CC0). 
The Empty Classroom
No computers?


  • Search on page: Ctrl f opens search bar (near top)
  • Avoid this term
  • Search on site
  • Simple, one answer
  • Complex, multiple answers
  • Research: web links for answers
  • First returns: What to look for
  • Suggested questions
  • Scholarly articles 
  • Second search: What to look for
  • Second search: Add terms.


Some things you may use frequently

  • Search on page: Ctrl+f, find  search bar near the top of your page.
  • The code in the address bar of a search return works as a Hypertext link.
  • (Copy that code into a url request window to make the term repeat the search.)
  • Avoid this term:  -[this term]
  • Search on site:  
  • Site: [url] [search term]

Start a search: 

  • Keep notes on any search that is not simple.
  • Suggested note-taker:  Google Keep

Simple, one answer

  • Check yourself: can you figure out the answer yourself
  • If you know one word or phrase that says what you are looking for, start with that
  • If you can frame the search as a question, start with that.
  • If you can frame the search as an algebraic equation with an unknown, use that.
  • If none of the above, list about 3 words that refer to your target.
  • That includes synonyms.   A thesaurus may help

Complex, multiple answers

  • Consider the instructions for simple searches.
  • If you know one of the multiple answers, include that in the search term.
  • If you are looking for things, you probably want a noun and adjectives.
  • If you are looking for an event or process, you probably a verb and related noun.

Research: web links for answers

  • Consider the instructions for simple searches
  • Think of titles for your research project and use one as your search term.  

First run: What to look for

  • If you got the answer you need, the search is really simple,.  If not:
  • Look for questions like the ones you had in mind. 
  • If you don't see your answer there,copy the questions to your notes.

  • Research: look for this item: "Scholarly articles about [your search]"
  • Save that item to your notes (with its link).
  • Google scholar  (Wikipedia)

  • ResearchOpen and read a little of any respected sources:  WikipediaMayo clinic.
  • Check respected sources for other terms you could use in a later search.

  • Research: Check the recency ordering: recent articles may have better links.

  • If you find a good site, you may want to search on site.

  • Note the options under the search bar.  With Tools, you can manage recency.

Second search: What to look for

  • Revise the search term to include any new terms you found in the first run.
  • Retry what you did on the first run.
  • You may need several "second" searches with changes in the search term.
  • Save useful or probably useful items in your notes.
  • Collect a list of possible items that may be included in your search term.

  • Think of your search term as the key to unlock the treasure you are looking for.

You may need smart searches


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