Google Tips and Tricks: Domain-Specific Search
Using a domain-specific search will allow you to limit your search to a
specific domain such as .gov, .edu .org and .com. Here is an example of how using this technique would come in
handy: Let’s say we are researching poverty. W’ell enter the term “poverty” into our
search box and hit the Enter key to run our search.
Notice how we’re given about 172 million results and we’re
getting all sorts of different types of web sites. Poverty is a pretty broad topic, so what
we want to do is add a little focus to it by adding
another descriptive word or phrase to our search. Let’s say we’re interested in poverty in
Milwaukee so we’ll add “Milwaukee Wisconsin” to our search box and hit “Enter” to
run our search again. Now we’re given fewer results. There are still
over a million results, which is a lot, but the point to remember here is
the more words you add, the more focused your search will be.
A good thing to remember with Google is not to gravitate toward the first
result or the first few results on the list. When I scroll down the page a little I
see that one of the results on my list is from the U.S. Census, which is a
government institution. Government websites are great because
they provide facts, figures, and information that’s reliable, authoritative, and usually up to date. By opening this website, I see that it
is a table of quick facts about Milwaukee County from the most recent U.S.
Census and that it contains a figure for
people who live below the poverty level in Milwaukee County. This would be a great source of
information to use in your research. Now that you’ve found a helpful website, you
may be interested in finding other government resources like it. How
can you easily do this? It can be done with a technique called a domain-specific search. Here’s how it’s done: Enter the words site:gov behind your search terms in the search
box and then hit the “Enter” key to run your search. Note that there
should be no space between the colon and gov. Now you’ll see that there are even fewer results. Also notice that the
results on the list are from government websites and that all levels of government are
represented: federal, state, county, and city. You can also use this
trick to limit your search to organizational websites using site:org, educational websites using site:edu, or commercial
websites using site:com (although site:com will probably will not give
you the greatest results and won’t be as useful). Now that you’ve
seen this example, try it out with your own topic.