Wednesday, 21 December 2022 06:08

10 Advanced Google Search Tips to Find Credible Sources of Information

By  Amanda Taylor

A student’s life is full of research. Whatever the topic and domain of your paper, coursework, or dissertation, you’ll have to spend your fair share of time trying dozens of queries and browsing through hundreds of search results to find the right sources.

But what if we told you that you could make your googling efforts less time-consuming – and a lot more efficient? Searching with Google is a skill – and once you master it, the world of knowledge will be your oyster.

How can you boost your googling skills? Start with these ten advanced search tips!

Find an Exact Match Using Quotes

Let’s say you need mobile app development market statistics. But when you type those five words into Google, half the results concern general app market trends without any charts or figures. What do you do?

You don’t have to waste time looking through each page one by one. Instead, refine your query to look for an exact match using quotation marks.

Example: “mobile app development market statistics”

Search a Specific Site or TLD Using site:

What if you need to find something on a certain website, but it doesn’t have a search bar? Don’t fall into despair at the perspective of scrolling through pages of content! You can search the whole website in Google by using the site: operator.

Want to quickly find particular information on how to professional essay writer on a particular website, for example? Put the name of the website after the site: operator.


Since credible sources are typically governmental or academic websites, you can limit your search results to websites using the corresponding TLD (top-level domain).

Example: OR OR

You can also filter results by a national TLD.


Exclude Certain Results Using a Hyphen

Here’s a classic conundrum. You’re looking for information on apples, but if you type in “apple,” you risk seeing too many links to Apple’s website. To avoid this, you can use the hyphen operator at the end of the query to exclude certain terms from your search results.

Example: -Apple Inc

Location-Target Your Search

Let’s say you study in the UK. When you start looking for information relevant to your location, you may be tempted to add “United Kingdom” or “London” to your query to make it location-specific. But that may exclude some local sources of information that don’t mention these terms as much on the page.

To avoid missing out on information because of that, you can try using the location: operator and see if the results are different.

Example: location:london

Search for Related Websites Using related:

You’ve found a great essay writing service review platform, but you’ve already exhausted it as a source of information. Instead of just googling for essay writing service reviews again, you can use the related: operator to find websites with similar content.


Include Similar Words with ~

Sometimes, one term or word in your query can have half a dozen widely used synonyms. While Google has improved its natural language processing and crawling capabilities in recent years, you’ll still probably miss out on a lot of results that contain a synonym instead of your original term.

So, to include pages that contain either your term or its synonym in the results, use ~ before the term itself.

Example: human development index ~report

Quickly Find a Definition Using define:

Need to quickly look up what this or that word or term means? Use define: before it in your query, and you’ll get your answer right at the top of the search results. It’ll be presented as a snippet, so you won’t have to click a single link to see the definition!

Example: define:eloquent

Use an Asterisk for Missing Words

Sometimes, you may not remember the exact term you should be looking for. Instead, you remember most of it, but one or several words have escaped your memory. Or, you know, there are several variations of the same term.

To find all possible versions of your query, you can use the asterisk as a wildcard. Google will then find all pages containing various combinations of your query.

Example: economic * in the UK

Search for Specific Document Types

Most published papers and reports come in the form of PDF files on the internet. So, if you’re looking for this type of source, you can narrow down your search to this particular file format. (No, it’s not magic!) All you have to do is use the filetype: operator.

Example: filetype:pdf

Filter Results by Time

Your assignment might be quite specific about how old the data you use can be. For example, if you write an overview of the United States economy in its current state, you’ll be required to use statistics no older than three or five years, depending on your academic guidelines.

If you try to filter the results by upending the year to your query, get ready for it to be ignored in some cases, especially if your query is long. To avoid that from happening, use a time filter Google offers in the Tools section under the search part. There, you can use a preset range (e.g., past year) or enter a custom one.

Bonus tip. Another way you can filter the results by year, for example, is by using .. between two numbers. This trick works for any numbers, not just years!

Example: “unemployment rate” 2019..2022

Final Tip: Zero in on Your Query

The key to efficient googling isn’t so much all the filters and operators above (although they’re great helpers once you get the hang of them). The key is phrasing your query as efficiently as possible.

In practice, this means using as few words as you can – and keeping only the important ones in the search bar. For example:

  • Don’t: artificial intelligence trends that will define 2023
  • Do: artificial intelligence trends
  • Or: artificial intelligence trends 2023
  • Don’t: how well the United States progresses in achieving sustainable development goals
  • Do: United States sustainable development goals

In Conclusion: What Makes a Source Credible?

Finding a credible source for your paper isn’t as easy as looking up a recipe or a restaurant nearby. That’s because not all sources are created equal; some are trustworthy, while others aren’t.

How do you know if you can trust this or that source? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t rely on Wikipedia (too much). It can be a good starting point for your research thanks to its list of references. But Wikipedia articles can be written and edited by anyone.
  • Prioritize government websites and databases, research think tanks, and international organizations. You can also use encyclopedias (e.g., Britannica, The World Factbook), established news outlets (e.g., The New York Times), standard professional organizations (e.g., American Psychology Association), and nonprofits (e.g., WWF).
  • To look for published scientific papers, in particular, head straight to Google Scholar.
  • Make sure your sources aren’t outdated or biased. Check the publication date and the sourcing of the material. If it’s too general and doesn’t link to any external sources or explain the methodology, treat the material with caution.
  • Consider the authors of the material. Are they experts in this field? Are there any potential or evident conflicts of interest?


World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

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