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Rutgers University Libraries

Occupational Safety & Health: Searching the Internet

Guide to library resources in occupational safety and health.

Searching the Web: Helpful Hints

  • Use keywords and key phrases that describe your research topic.
  • Use quotation marks to denote phrases (many search engines recognize common phrases, but it is better to tell the computer than let the computer tell you what you want).
  • Get to know your Search Engine! Does it have special or advanced features? How does it display results? Can you configure it to work differently?
  • Use Advanced Search Options, if available.  This will give you more control over your search and improve your results.

Evaluating Websites

Anyone can post anything on the Internet; therefore, carefully assessing the quality of a website is important when conducting an Internet search.

The video below was created by the librarians of the California State University, Fullerton Library to help students evaluate websites for research assignments. The tips it offers for assessing the quality of information on a website are useful for any type of research, however.

Google Advanced Search Tips

  http://www.google.com/advanced_search

Google Advanced Search has a number of useful options, such as the ability to limit your search by region, language, file type, and the date on which the site was most recently updated.

Alternatively, you can use commands to do an Advanced Search in "regular" Google Search.

Sample Advanced Search Commands:

filetype:pdf  [give me ONLY pdf documents]

Why?  Most research reports are published online in pdf format.

Alternative: filetype:ppt for powerpoint presentations

site:org  [give me ONLY results from .org websites]

Why?  Most research organizations are nonprofits, which use the .org domain. 

Alternative: site:gov for websites of federal and state government agencies.

"employee participation"  [give me ONLY results that contain this exact phrase]

Alternative: whatever keywords and phrases define your research topic, placed in quotation marks.

You can combine these search functions as well. A Google Search for:

                                filetype:pdf site:gov "unions"

would retrieve PDF files that contain the word "unions" from .gov websites.