Even if you're just doing a casual Web search, it can be a good idea to identify exactly what it is you are looking for from the beginning, and if possible, narrow down your target to make it easier to find.
Developing a search plan is a good idea, especially when you are looking for targeted results-and who knows, sometimes you'll find you know more than you thought about a subject, which will make your search more efficient-especially useful when researching a complicated topic. Here are some basic questions to ask yourself:
Narrow Down Your Search Target
- What do I understand about this already?
- What are the key concepts?
- Do I understand what it is I'm looking for?
- How much information will I need?
- How soon do I need to find this information?
- What is my search topic?
- What is my knowledge of this topic?
- Do I need to consult dictionaries or encyclopedias?
- What is my existing knowledge, and how can I expand on it?
- What are the keywords or phrases?
- Write out what you're looking for.
- Brainstorm the most important key words.
- Identify these words and use them in your search efforts.
Once you have organized lists of keywords, you can search quickly for the most relevant resources. Formulate your search question. For example: When was the Great Wall of China built?
Develop synonyms to your keyword list, or other words that might bring in relevant results in your search efforts. For example, "China history" might bring in broader results than just "Great Wall".