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COM 111: Public Speaking: Advanced Google Searching

Advanced Google Searching

Google Scholar

In order to search Google for scholarly sources, use Google Scholar. Make sure you're signed in through the library's webpage if you're off-campus! That way, you will see links in your Google Scholar search that send you straight to the article through WOU, if we have access to it.

General Google Searching

Heed your instructor's advice regarding Google searching. Make sure your sources meet the following standards:

  • Accountability
  • Accuracy
  • Objectivity
  • Timeliness
  • Usability
  • Diversity

Go to and try each of the searches below to see how they change your results. You can also try these techniques using Google's advanced search form.

Part 1: Search by Domain Name

In the search box, enter some keywords as you normally would and then add this to the end of your keywords: .domain (e.g. .edu, .gov, etc.) PLEASE NOTE: The domain of a website does NOT determine its credibility. You must evaluate each website you use for credibility, regardless of its domain.

Common Domain Names:
.com  generic domain, usually commercial, but anyone can use it

.edu  limited to U.S. educational institutions

.gov  limited to U.S. government

.org  usually non-profit organization, but anyone can use it

.mil  limited to U.S. military

.museum = museums

.net = networks, but anyone can use it


Part 2: Search Using Special Characters

Exert greater control over your search results using special characters called search operators. 

Common search operators:

Search for an exact word or phrase using quotation marks (" "): "keywords"

Exclude a word by adding a dash (-) before the word you'd like to exclude from your results: -keyword

Include a "fill in the blank" by using an asterisk (*) before or after a word or phrase: keyword

Search for pages that are similar to a URL by using related:keyword


Part 3: Search by File Type

This technique allows you to limit your search to a particular file type. It can help you find reports, newsletters, articles, fact sheets and similar documents.

In the search box, add this to the end of your search: filetype:PDF  *Note: Use PDF not .PDF (with a period)*

Other Common File Types:

doc or docx = Word document

xls or xlsx = Excel spreadsheet

ppt or pptx = PowerPoint

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