How do I conduct my Internet searches to find relevant information about external trends related to my field of study and associated professions?

Finding information on the Internet can be daunting at times because there is no consistent method by which it is categorized, and not all search engines search for information the same way. Finding information in online library databases is a little easier because the information in each database has been systematically categorized. However, as is the case with Internet search engines, not all library database search tools work in exactly the same way. Therefore, it is helpful to have an understanding of how the online search tool you’re using looks for information. The following video provides an overview of how the Google search engine looks for information using keywords.

Given the sheer volume of information available in the online environment, developing effective search strategies to conduct a successful critical inquiry takes time, patience, and practice, beginning with a clear understanding and articulation of precisely what information you’re looking for and how it is related conceptually to your primary critical inquiry question. This relationship is expressed in keywords.

Keywords & Advanced Search

The following webpage provides a good example of how to use keywords to find relevant information about a particular topic; it applies to searching for webpages online and searching in library databases. (

Using the Advanced Search option of a search engine can save a great deal of time with searches, so you should look for this option in whatever search engine you’re using.  Most databases you find online have an advanced search option as well. As you can see from the advanced search option for Google, you are able to filter results in several different ways to get the most relevant results: Google Advanced Search.

Image Attribution: Source/Notes: Critical Eye column, Yahoo! Internet Life, September 1998, p. 66 Photo Credit: Bob Kotalik AP



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