Here are three more ways to boost your online research.
Start Using the Advance Search
Ever heard of the advance search option on Google? It’s a bit hidden under on Google homepage under “Settings.” But once you click that “Advance Search” option, you’ll have access to a lot more filters to narrow your search. This is great when looking for something specific to a location, on a government site, or even a file type. Think of it to refine your search results to the max.
A whole new world, right? Don’t forget about these common searching methods from Goolge—they may seem common, but they are super helpful.
Search for a specific site: Put “site:” in front of a site or domain. For example: site:youtube.com or site:.gov
Search social media: Put @ in front of a word to search social media. For example: @twitter
Search within a range of numbers: Put … between two numbers. For example: camera $50..$100
Find Resources in Page Links
Stay with us. This is one of the trickiest techniques, but worth it when you’re doing reverse research—think building a timeline for a case, or looking for other resources. Using an asterisk will allow you to discover a page that links to a particular page rather than searching for that page directly. Say you want to see who linked to a Dateline article on their website, you can use this trick to find all the websites that link to that article.
When you type in: link:dateline.com, you’ll get a list of all the websites that link to Dateline.com. Now couple that with other operators like parentheses you get some specific results to use as jumping-off points for case research.
Use Extensions for a Particular File
This is probably one of the most underutilized Google tricks. It is, nonetheless, extremely useful in that it allows you to search for a particular file type or file. This is particularly useful if you need to locate a specific PowerPoint or PDF file, which is usually the format of reports, public records, or government documents. Use “search term” filetype: to get results that bring back these types of files.
This search for information related to Mitrice Richardson brought back more than 1,000 results related to files that are PDFs. Again, not exhaustive, but using specific file types means you’ll find information usually produces for presentations, meetings, or public records—again, great for getting sources in research in unsolved cases.
Think like a meeting host or a middle manager when searching. Check out these file type extensions when using this search tip:
Presentations Examples: ppt, pptx, pdf, pptm
Reports Examples: pdf, txt, docm, docx, dot
Data Examples: xls, xlsm, xlt
Together We Can Build a Community
Our team is taking publicly available data and creating timelines, pulling maps, organizing sources, and visualizing cold cases for more eyes and collective impact.