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Research Toolkit: Discover Google Search Tips

Tools, techniques, and resources to help you find the information you need.

 Related Guide: Should I use Google or library resources?


The Basics

  • Google is the surface web
  • Word order matters
  • Too few words may give poor results
  • Google search box accepts up to 32 words

Google Power Tips

Operator Description Examples
" "

Exact Phrase Search

  • Enclose words in quotation marks
  • Search for things in the order as typed

"java programming"

"allegory of the cave"





Search Domain or Website

  • Use the operator site: in your search
  • Search for results within specific domains or websites

Find Volunteer Opportunities at Non-Profit Organizations in Detroit:

volunteer Detroit

Find Information from WCC about Photography:


Find Government Information on Human Trafficking in Michigan

human trafficking Michigan



Include Words

  • Type a plus sign before a word or phrase to include it in results for your search
  • A space should be placed before the plus sign, but not after it

poverty +nutrition

"invasive species" +"Lake Michigan"



Exclude Words

  • Type a minus sign in front of the word or phrase to exclude
  • A space must be placed before the minus sign but not after it

"Michelle Obama" -Barack -president

"Violin Music" +sonata -concerto

football -soccer -rugby

Adapted from Google Search Tips: Getting Started, from MIT Libraries