Searching the Web

Starting Out

What do you need to do?

Find specific information?

Find everything available on your subject? Cast your net into the Deep Web

Do you have a strategy in mind before you begin?

Exercise: In your mind's eye, what does the perfect result look like? Are there features on the page you can identify? Curious - learn more about this technique

Importance of Who & Why

Who would be capturing the information you are searching for?

Are there specific organizations or groups that would have useful information on their pages?

-- ex: industry associations, government agencies, think tanks

Why is that information collected?

For what purpose does the organization collection the information?

Consider what is not included by this resource.

In both cases, be aware of bias

Finding the Right Words

Building your search terms

What are the keywords for your topic?

Tip: Lost for words? Create a "draft search" and look in your results for unique wording or phrases to apply in a second search

-- ex: delay paying loans

Build up a list of these keywords and experiment with the results

Are there specific phrases that would help?

-- ex: "operations other than war"

Are there unique words, names or acronyms related to your topic?

-- ex: UAV, Unmanned Autonomous (or Aerial) Vehicle

Are there helpful synonyms or spelling variations?

-- ex: booster, launch vehicle

-- ex: defense, defence; center, centre

Cut down the interference

Add context to common terms:

-- ex: Bill Gates = NPS Dean Bill Gates

Are there common words you can avoid?

-- ex:  satellite = cubesat

Avoid using stop words which include adverbs, conjunctions

      -- ex: the, is, was, many

      Sometimes stop words DO matter

      -- ex: the who, a who

Use exact terminology when possible.

 -- ex: liquid rocket booster

Are there irrelevant words or phrases that you could exclude?