Choosing a Search Engine

Make sure you use the right tool for the right job.

No single search engine looks at the entire internet. Different search engines will return different websites.

Decide what search engines are best for your project by experimenting with them. Read their documentation. Try advanced searching. One search engine will not work for all searches so try several.

Search Options

Simple Search

A simple search works best with unusual words or phrases, like hukilau.

Broad terms like biology or advertising will return thousands of results, many of which will not be relevant to your search.

Advanced Search

Many search engines and databases offer advanced searching that gives you greater flexibility. What options are available and the special symbols used will vary, so you’ll always want to start at the Help, Hints, or Tips screen.

Some of the most common advanced search techniques are:

  • You can narrow or broaden your search using the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT
  • You can search for a specific phrase (“American Lung Association”)
  • You can search for variations of a word (Hawaii, Hawai‘i, Hawaii's, Hawaiʻi’s, Hawaiian, Hawaiians, Hawaiiana) using just one term (Hawai*)
  • You can limit where your search terms are found (e.g., only in the title of the page) to increase the likelihood of their relevance