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Google is a very powerful resource that is often underused by many students of today.  There is no shame in not knowing how to solve a problem, or even being completely baffled by a concept in general.  However, this should not be a reason to give up or quit if you haven’t at least done your due diligence and researched a little.  

If you are stuck on a math problem, or don’t understand a concept you were being taught in physics, or can’t seem to understand some rules you’re learning in grammar…look to Google.  Instead of giving up for the night and feeling that sense of frustration that comes with not being able to complete assignments, search Google for the general topic or rule you are reviewing  You will be surprised how quickly you can get help!  It is important to remember that searching is an art as well, so here are some tips to follow when trying to find what you’re looking for:

Effective searches use fewer words, not more:

If you want to look up how to solve the maximum height achieved by a projectile in your physics class, then you could probably get away with searching “how do I find the maximum height achieved by a projectile” in the search.  However, Google doesn’t search exactly what you typed in exactly the order you typed.  It will look for results that contain some, or all, of the words you typed.  The more words you type, the more narrow your results can become.  If you’re not careful, you will lose quite a few results.  Try searching “Maximum height projectiles” instead.  It captures the key words without unnecessarily narrowing your search results.

Think about how others might ask what you’re trying to find:

There are instances, though rare, when you search a topic and find no useful results.  Don’t give up!  Something as simple as changing the words in your search to either synonyms, or using more “common language” might make all the difference.

Laser Focusing Searches Using Search Operators:

It was mentioned above that Google doesn’t search exactly what you typed in the order that you typed it.  However, there are operators you can add to your search text that can force Google to do what you want!  Here are two to remember:

* (The Asterisk)

This will search google for your search string with anything it can find in place of the asterisk.  This is especially good for quotes you can’t remember completely.  An example would be “don’t put all your * in one basket.”  We all know the missing word is eggs, but this illustrates the power of using asterisks!

– (The Dash or Minus)

This will remove sites with the term you type after the dash from your search.  A helpful example is “jaguar speed -car” vs “jaguar speed.”  The second example would find both sites dealing with cars and animals, while the first would only find results relating to animals.