Recommended Online Research Strategies

Before you begin: Analyze your search topic to identify keywords, synonyms, phrases, organizations, authorities, outliers, etc. Use this template:

    Analyze Your Search Topic

  1. Start with the online research tools available through the Hiebert Library web site.
  2. When conducting online research on the world wide web, approach all sites with a critical eye. Look for sites which are credible, accurate, reasonable and show evidence of support.
  3. Use the advanced search screens if they are available: Most of the search engines have this feature and using it allows you to zero in on exactly the info that you are looking for. The search engine's Help files can provide very specific information on how to best use the advanced features available on the Advanced Search screens.
  4. Search for multiple keywords: The search engine can only find what you specifically ask for. Trying multiple arrangements of the search terms often results in dramatic differences. The search engine generally assumes that the keywords that you enter first have more importance than those you enter later in the search string.
  5. Search for phrases: Placing quotation marks around your search terms forces the search engine to look for the phrase instead of the individual words. Since phrases often have very different meanings than the sum of the words in a phrase, phrase searching usually returns much better results.
  6. Use domain filtering to limit your results to the domains most likely to return academically relevant information

    .edu (colleges and universities)

    .ac (academic content - outside the US)

    .org (non-profit organizations)

    .gov (government sites)


Fresno Pacific University | Center for Degree Completion

Developed by Bob Jost |
last modified 8.10.05