by J. A. Buxton
Explaining refined search features of Google
Google - A Writer’s Tool: Section III
As promised, I’ve saved the second link at the right of the search box for last because there are so many Google Goodies here. You can use the features listed below in conjunction with each other, so that the results bring you the most relevant pages.
Buckle up your seat belt because it might be a bumpy, confusing ride. Ready?
When you click on Advanced Search, you will see this Google screen is divided into sections. You might find some more helpful than others, but you could find valuable help in researching by poking around all of them. For a more detailed explanation than I will give here, be sure to visit Advance Search Tips at the very top of the screen. Underneath that, you have four options in the first section to refine your search results.
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Let’s start researching on a medical condition, diabetes. Our goal is to narrow it down to insulin-dependent diabetes and then T2 diabetes.
Begin with the All these words box by typing the word diabetes. After that, click on the Advanced Search icon. This is a common ailment, and we will get over 300,000,000 pages.
Deleting what you just typed in that first box blank, let’s try to narrow down the search a bit. Go to the second box, This exact wording or phrase, and type insulin-dependent diabetes. Voila! This is better with these pages related only to that type of the disease.
Don’t you just love Google now?
Like the first option above, by typing the word diabetes into the One or more of these words box, you again will get too much information. However, you could use it for researching only T2 diabetes by typing in one of the medications for it such as metformin or Glucophage. This will weed out the insulin-dependent diabetes sites.
We already know how many pages there are for insulin-dependent diabetes. With the word diabetes still in All these words, type insulin-dependent in Any of these unwanted words, then click on the Advanced Search icon. There still is too much information, more than you need, but it should have narrowed down a bit for ease in researching T2 diabetes.
However, by playing around with these four options while researching what you need for your story, you’ll find which one works best for you. I personally find the With the exact phrase the most useful for my research.
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I think I have too much free time on my hands. While writing this article, I amused myself fiddling around with the last section on this page.
After typing Neil Diamond into the With the exact phrase above, I tried out all the following options while leaving 10 as the default results per page.
First, I scrolled down to Russian, then went back to click on Advanced Search. Up popped links to sites written, I can only assume, in Russian. French is more familiar
to me, so I did this again in that language. Ah, much better, but there are more than 50,000 pages.
Leaving the language as French, I changed the format to Microsoft Word (.doc), clicked on the Advanced Search icon, and narrowed the search to only around 1,300 pages.
Lastly, I changed Language to English, File type to Any format, and Search within a site or domain to Writing.com. I then click on Advanced Search again. I was delighted to see so many Writing.com members are also Neil Diamond fans.
Are we having fun yet? Let’s finish the last of this section, which is a link for Date, Usage rights, Where your keywords show up, and Region. These give you even more various options to try.
Below these options is Numeric Range. Now it gets a little better. I wanted to find articles about Neil Diamond during the last decade. Leaving the search fields at English and any format, I next typed 2000 in the first box and the current year in the second one, after which I click on the Advanced Search icon.
The field covers the ability to filter out explicit images and adult sites. You can choose from moderate, strict, or no filtering, depending on the age and experience of the person using Google.
The last are contains Page-specific tools. Are you starting to understand how to narrow down your searches?
That ends this section of Google – A Writer’s Tool. If you have some free time, try experimenting with the different filters on your own subject matter.
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Part III is not the last one about this fantastic search engine. As I mentioned in Part I, More gives you a list of other Google products. These are much too important to not have an article all their own. This looks like a researcher’s Eden, Nirvana, paradise, Shangri-La…take your pick. If you haven’t heard from me in a couple days, come looking for me on Google.