Smart Search



Help Your Students Become Better Searchers

Download lesson plans to develop your students' search literacy and A Google A Day challenges to put their skills to the test.

With the materials on this site, you can help your students become skilled searchers- whether they're just starting out with search, or ready for more advanced training.

Check out the lesson plans Google has for you at:

And be sure to share with your colleagues!


*** Internet Search Engines are a great way to find out lots of information about a person, place or thing, but if you are not careful you could waste a lot of time, and end up with inaccurate information.   Here are some tips:

1.      When using Google or Yahoo, be sure to put what you are searching for in quotation marks.  This will narrow the responses and save you time. 

2.      Use a plus sign (+) to narrow your search even further.  For example, Martin Luther King will return over 2 million matches, but if you want information about his “I have a dream” speech, try “Martin Luther King” + “I have a dream” and see how many fewer matches you will get.

3.      Many times, all the information you need will be in the few words or sentences attached to the hyperlink which appears in the search response.  Why waste time clicking the link and waiting for the page to load, if you don’t need to?

4.      Use your copy and paste keyboard shortcuts to copy the URL (Web Address) and the name of the site you are getting your information from.  You will want to be able to show this later.

5.      When you find information on a web page that you think you might need, copy and paste it into a new blank document, along with the URL of the web page you got it from.  You can gather up lots of information in a short time on the Internet using this method, and not waste time reading everything while you are online.

6.      Look at the URL for clues to the validity of information you find on a web page.  If the page you are looking at is a or an AOL member’s page, then what you are looking at is a personal web page of someone who might not be giving you accurate information.

7.      If the web page you are gathering information from has a  .org  ending, then this is an Organization which likely has a one-sided agenda to promote.  The information you get from a site like this may be accurate, but it usually only tells “one side of the story”.   It is fine to gather information  from a site like this,  but make sure you go elsewhere for the “other side of the story”.

8.      If a web page has a link named, “About Us”,  be sure to click on it and read the contents.  This will usually give you a good idea about the people or organization who are offering the information on the web page.

9.      Always look for some text either at the top or bottom of a web site’s home page to see when the page was last updated.  If a site has not been updated for a long time, the information there may no longer be valid.

10. Never use information you find on a web page exactly word-for-word in a report or term paper you are writing, without revealing that these are not your own words.  This is plagiarism, which is dishonest and a form of cheating.  You are allowed to re-state information you find on a web page in your own words and use it in something you write.

11. If you do not find the information you need quickly on one search engine, try a different search engine.  Not all search engines give you the same web pages in response to a search you make.

12. To find more search engines than just Google, go to Google and enter a search for “Search Engines” and see what comes up !!!!



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