14 Little-Known Ways Students Can Get More Out Of Google

These days, so much of the research students do is of the online variety. There’s less time spent in the library, requesting materials, and reading through print journals. Online research enables students (and teachers) to get the information they need quickly and efficiently. But just because there is a lot of information out there, a simple Google search isn’t necessarily going to yield you the best results.

The handy infographic below takes a look at how to get the most out of Google when you’re doing online research. So whether you’re helping your students learn how to find the information they need, or if you’re doing your own research for professional development or personal interests, you can be an effective, efficient researcher. Keep reading to learn more!

Get The Most Out Of Google

  • In a recent study, 3 out of 4 students couldn’t perform a “well-executed Google search”
  • Search terms are referred to as ‘operators’
  • Use “site:” followed by a website name to find articles specifically from that site
  • Use “~” followed by a search term to find search results that include related words to that term
  • Use quotation marks around a set of words (such as test scores) to find results that use those words together, not separately
  • Use “-” followed by a search term to exclude results relating to that search term
  • Use “…” between two parameters (such as two dates) to include results from those specific ranges
  • Don’t ask Google questions!
  • You can search for specific types of files by searching “filetype:” followed by your desired type of file (such as jpg, pdf, etc)
  • Use “intitle:” followed by a search term to find only titles that include that specific term
  • Use “*” followed by a search term to find results that use commonly used terms that are similar
  • In Google Scholar, you can use “author:” followed by the author name to find articles written by a specific person
  • You can also use the author’s name or initials in quotations to find more specific results
  • You can also use the Google search bar as a calculator, unit converter, and for definitions of words!



  1. William Mair

    March 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    All very good, except you may want to add in the Windows key shortcut equivalents, rather than just the Mac ones.

    • Felipe

      March 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you William for mentioning the millions of Windows users :)

  2. Felipe

    March 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Learning how to power search on google is a crucial tool for everyone but for the current and future generations of students learning to “google it” is as important as mastering the Windows or Apple operating system. As we know google has the Chrome web browser so students can google any topic but knowing the tips and tricks can save students time and energy getting through all the wheat and hitting the gold.

  3. Kszczytko

    March 17, 2014 at 10:12 am

    This is great. I’d love to have a printable version of this.

  4. sdooley

    March 17, 2014 at 10:42 am

    The * is a wildcard that substitutes for one or more words in a phrase.

  5. Amethyst Librarian

    March 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm