Let’s review our problem from module 1, looking at earthquake risks to engineering systems and structures in Richmond, B.C.
Google would be a good place to start, so let’s do a search for Richmond earthquake
. Google automatically assumes you are looking for all the search terms. Because Google and Google Scholar search the entire internet, they can provide millions of results.
There are search operators that you can use to help narrow down the millions of results. These will help you find more relevant and useful sources of information.
Operators can be combined within searches. Here are some basic ones that you can use:
- Broadens your search by capturing synonyms or variant spellings of a concept
- Example: earthquake OR seismic will find results that have either term present
- Brackets/Parentheses ( )
- Gather OR’d synonyms of a concept together, while combining them with another concept
- Example: Richmond (earthquake OR seismic)
- Quotation marks “ ”
- Narrow your search by finding words together as a phrase, instead of separately
- Example: Richmond (earthquake OR seismic) “British Columbia”
There are other Google-specific operators:
- site: limits your search to results from a specific domain or website
- This operator is helpful when searching government websites such as the BC government, which is gov.bc.ca
- Example: Richmond earthquake site:gov.bc.ca
- filetype: limits your search to results with a specific file extension
- You could look for pdf's, Powerpoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and so on
- Example: Richmond earthquake site:gov.bc.ca filetype:pdf
- The Search Tools button at the top of your Google results gives you a variety of other options, such as limiting your results by date
There are other operators and tools that you can use in Google and Google Scholar. Ask a librarian
if you’re curious!