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Internet research techniques





Crinoid
Post what do you know about Internet research techniques, for all of us to know. How to make efficient search and find results you are looking for in a short time, assuming that topic is unfamiliar and fine nuances of possible wording for a search are unknown. Be specific, unlike Internet research techniques published on the Web Smile

Also, how to compensate the search engines deficiencies:
- showing all modifications of the word you entered in a search, that makes the whole search pointless,
- showing pages that do not contain your search terms at all, or having them only in a tags cloud - makes search pointless again,
- showing blogs that are only musing around, useless for your search and slow loading,
- showing low quality information (for familiar topics, that I'm able to evaluate) at the top of the search results.
deanhills
These are some of my techniques:
1. If I want something very specific, such as background about President Obama, then I would put it in quotation marks:"President Obama". That would narrow it down. Either that or I would go straight to Wikipedia. Being specific is what limits the search engine's redundant links.
2. I like to use Yahoo search engine, however it is not necessarily the better one, just a personal preference. Usually it comes up with suggested links for relevant Websites as I am typing the words into the search box. I sometimes like that and choose the option closest to what I am looking for. For example if I start to type in President Obama, it may have options for "president Obama", or "President Obama Auguration", etc.
3. If I can't find what I am looking for, then I would try other search engines, Google being my next choice.
4. For checking on meanings of words and spelling I usually go to www.dictionary.com and type the word in the search box.
5. If I am looking for free software I usually start with www.tucows.com.
6. If I am looking for medical research papers I look at www.pubmed.com. It automatically goes to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/, which is a US Government Website for the US National Library of Medicine.
standready
I usually go with something vague which gives wide results. You never know what you might find useful by going vague. then I get more specific with my search. Starting off to narrow can miss things.
TVme
It has been my experience that the Yahoo! search engine is based more on popularity and the Google search engine is based more on relevance. If you type Paris Hilton in Google you get a list of relevant sites that are official and biographical. If you type Paris Hilton in Yahoo! you get TMZ listed fourth - purely a gossip site and sexy actress photo pages. I keep as my home page : http://www.searchalot.com/ it has all the best searches on one page with one section that links directly to all of the advance search pages - try them. Deanhills' example of using quotations is the quickest and easiest time saver.

- TVme
ocalhoun
Definitely be aware of the advanced search options of your favorite engine...

The quotes, as mentioned earlier, are especially useful.

2nd most useful is the NOT operator; it can get rid of results you don't want, especially when there are a million of them to the one you do want.

Something like: (software you want) free NOT trial NOT evaluation NOT day
That'll eliminate the '30 day free trial' junk that comes up.
Crinoid
I am well aware of advance search functions Laughing

1. No favorite search engine, though. Do you have one?
Until the last year and a half, Google produced more relevant results than the other, but they had changed something again. Impossible to find anything beyond computer, entertainment and news. Went through the all search engines, listed in Wikipedia, they show even less. What is your experience, what are you using?

2. Being specific: it's difficult to use the right wording (semi-jargon, specific to this topic or area) for the unfamiliar topic. Vague to specific helps sometimes, but takes a week for a each piece of information.

3. I'll give the difficult (and uninteresting, alas) examples of searches to you. Can you post your alternative wording for a better search?

a) folding furniture for a small or tiny spaces, possibly DIY, for adults, inexpensive or cheap. Include: bed, size less than twin (twin for some reason is listed as a single bed, while it it 1.5), sturdy work table, wardrobe and lounge chair. Exclude: expensive designers' novelties and plain -"Murphy bed", also expensive and requiring too much.
"folding single bed" -Murphy -designer -children -kids - child, then go through results.

b) lightweight sturdy wardrobe with shelves, analog of three-doors one. Inexpensive. So far Ikea has one that is not listed as wardrobe at their website.
wardrobe (or "clothes storage") shelves. Then go through results.

c) low maintenance gardening - or no maintenance, for very dry shade for a people with limited bend-ability, walking and lifting, not wheel chair. Inexpensive and available. Specific information, with plant names and for what conditions they are, not generalizing around.
Exclude: hired labor, bags and stones. Accessible gardening is dedicated to spending thousands on hired labour to make garden accessible, not the topic of interest.
"low maintenance garden" (or garden-ing), "no maintenance garden", add to each of them +age +health, -stone -hardscaping -raised bed. Particularly difficult case is fertilizing "low maintenance garden" age health.

d) work from home (Oh, no, not again! Agree, this is just an example), own business. Cheap again, not noisy and toxic, taking small space, mailable. List of possibilities, types of product. Exclude: inspirational speeches (I did it, you can too! Yes, you can do it. Yes, you can!), scams and books about this.
"Working from home" "own business" make product "small space" -"this is not a list of" -cleaning -"dog walking" (and all services, one by one) -scam -envelopes (and list with "-" all known scams).

e) friendly general forums with a lot of active mature members (30+, no personal relations, not kitchen, children of fashion talk or male bonding topics), and where poorer part of society is not frown upon. Northern America preferably.
forums, life, friendly -harsh -bickering -cooking -school -university

f) secure administration of the dynamic website for average individual without in-depth knowledge and absence of hiring possibilities. For personal blog, forum or cms. Possible or not, and how to.
CMS (or blog, or forum, or by names) security vulnerabilities secure administrating -"knowledge of php" (or cgi) -777

If you were able to scan through long post Very Happy , would like to hear from you.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Definitely be aware of the advanced search options of your favorite engine...

The quotes, as mentioned earlier, are especially useful.

2nd most useful is the NOT operator; it can get rid of results you don't want, especially when there are a million of them to the one you do want.

Something like: (software you want) free NOT trial NOT evaluation NOT day
That'll eliminate the '30 day free trial' junk that comes up.
I tried the NOT operator with crinoid's example, probably did something wrong, but it came up with "child" everywhere.

My search using Yahoo was:
(discount small folding furniture)child NOT children NOT

What did I do wrong? Smile

I checked out the Yahoo Advanced Search, and then found that the NOT perhaps works with minus signs instead of NOT (unless I have used NOT wrong):

discount small folding furniture -child -children

I used the same search above (with the minus signs) in Google, and got much better results than Yahoo, as the top results in Yahoo were not specific to my search. Google came up with very relevant results. Interesting exercise for me thanks crinoid. Smile
erlendhg
When I'm using Google to find the answer to a IT support question, like how to fix a certain problem (I do that a lot), I often use the NOT operator (-) to filter away sites like experts-exchange.com, where you have to pay to see the answer to that problem.

For example
Code:
[search string] -site:experts-exchange.com
deanhills
erlendhg wrote:
When I'm using Google to find the answer to a IT support question, like how to fix a certain problem (I do that a lot), I often use the NOT operator (-) to filter away sites like experts-exchange.com, where you have to pay to see the answer to that problem.

For example
Code:
[search string] -site:experts-exchange.com
I really like it. This was a good thread for me, as I will certainly be using it from now on.
Hogwarts
deanhills wrote:
I used the same search above (with the minus signs) in Google, and got much better results than Yahoo, as the top results in Yahoo were not specific to my search. Google came up with very relevant results. Interesting exercise for me thanks crinoid. Smile


You might also find the + tool interesting, which means along the lines of "results must have this word", for example "+child". An essential for longer searches! Smile
deanhills
Hogwarts wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I used the same search above (with the minus signs) in Google, and got much better results than Yahoo, as the top results in Yahoo were not specific to my search. Google came up with very relevant results. Interesting exercise for me thanks crinoid. Smile


You might also find the + tool interesting, which means along the lines of "results must have this word", for example "+child". An essential for longer searches! Smile
Thanks Hogwarts. That is a plus .... Laughing Not thought about that either. Does it need the quotation marks around it?
Hogwarts
deanhills wrote:
Thanks Hogwarts. That is a plus .... Laughing Not thought about that either. Does it need the quotation marks around it?


Yes and no. For example, you can have +children or +"children free", identical to with the - tool Smile
ankitdatashn
First of all be prepared with all the keywords, their permutations. Try every combination.

I'll be back after some time...
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