Lesson 2.2: Thinking more deeply about your search

Access Lesson 2.2 slides here

Contents:

  1. Finding better keywords from search results
  2. Using [define] and the Google Dictionary

In the last lesson, you learned tools like autocomplete, search-as-you-type, and related searches, all of which help you think about new ways to formulate queries to find what you want.

Another method to build more targeted queries is to learn new, more precise terms to describe what you seek. Often, these terms show up somewhere in your search results, and if you are attuned to noticing them, you can use them to help you find information faster.

 

For example, you might be in financial services and interested in trying to understand the economic impact of immigrants sending money back home. Look carefully at the results for the query [immigrants send money home]:

Figure: Search results for  [immigrants send money home].

Now, as you read through the search results page, you may notice that there is a word that repeats several times:

Figure: Notice that the term remittances appears throughout the results for the query  [immigrants send money home].

When you see a new word, it is always a good idea to confirm what it means. An easy way to do this with Google is to ask for a dictionary definition by using the query: [define remittance].

Figure: top of the results page for [define remittance].

The definition even includes the pronunciation for the word, which you can hear by clicking on this icon:. You can also click on the More info link, to see more definitions—including the word “in context” as it appears around the web, the word in different languages, and more.

Figure: The full Google dictionary entry for remittance.

A blue stripe across the top of your results section that says “Dictionary” indicates that you are within Google’s dictionary results.

One of the nice things about definitions drawn from the live web is that you can now do searches for words that may not be in most dictionaries. So if you look for a word like [pwned] you find definitions extracted from the web.

Figure: Dictionary results for the slang term: [pwned] .

With Google’s dictionary, you can search for words that may not be in many dictionaries yet, but are in common use throughout the world.

Try the next activity and see if you can use these tools to help you get into a deeper understanding of the search results page.


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