While some of these recommendations may seem basic, but Google is the best search tool to start with for online research. Utilizing this step-by-step overview of how to master searching will help you better identify topics and terms for looking for more information.

Boolean searching is the best and most accurate search process; it enables the use of stringing together words and phrases using the following:


Searches for two terms
EXAMPLE: murder AND 1990, missing child, missing AND child
NOTE: If you enter two terms and don’t use AND it will assume that there is an AND between them. The ‘+’ sign and an ampersand ‘&’ can also be used to replace AND when searching.


Broaden a search to find results which include one or more terms by separating terms with the uppercase word OR
EXAMPLE: Police OR “Police Officer,” “unsolved murder” OR “cold case”


Search results will exclude findings containing a term that is accompanied by NOT
EXAMPLE: (Facebook OR Twitter) NOT Pinterest, “reported missing” NOT missing NOT found NOT “presumed dead”
NOTE: The ‘!’ sign and ‘^’ can also be used to replace NOT when searching.

Quotation Marks “ ”

Searches for precise terms or phrases
EXAMPLE: “cold cases in Denver,” “missing child,” “camera footage,” “East Area Rapist”

Parentheses ( )

Groups similar for searching
EXAMPLE: (cold cases) AND (2010), “missing women” AND (national parks), (found body OR crime scene)

You can also head to www.GoogleGuide.com for a comprehensive guide on searching the internet using Google. We’ve compiled a Citizen Detective guide to help you sharpen your skills, download it today to build your digital toolkit and moving up in the detective ranks along with your new Googling skills!



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Our team is taking publicly available data and creating timelines, pulling maps, organizing sources, and visualizing cold cases for more eyes and collective impact.

Tell us more about you, or invite your friends to join us. Collective impact matters in finding answers. We can do it together—help us build the Uncovered community.