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Course & Subject Guides

2021 Katz Research and Library Introduction - Oakland Campus

Use this guide to learn about key library resources and services available at Pitt for Master of Science Students

Google Tips & Tricks

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Sometimes, using advanced search techniques in Google will help you find information. This is particularly true when doing private company or emerging/niche market research.

Below are some strategies you can use to more effectively use Google to find specific information.

1. Search for specific file types

You can limit Google searches to particular files such as PDFs, PowerPoints, etc. This can be helpful when looking for reports, particularly by professional associations, organizations, and governments.

Type in Google your search terms + filetype:ppt. Example search: nanotechnology market filetype:pdf

2. Search for specific domains

You can also limit results to sites with specific domains, such as .org, .edu, .mil, or .gov.

Type in Google your search terms + Example search: nanotechnology market

*Tip: Combine tips 1 and 2 for even more advanced searching. Example search: nanotechnology market filetype:pdf

3. Search for other country's versions of Google

When you search, you are searching the U.S.'s version of Google. If you know the top-level country code domain for other countries, you can search their version of Keep in mind that this will not necessarily change the language of the results you see, but will show you results Google thinks are more relevant to those in that country. This can be helpful when doing international research.

Example: Go to (Germany's version). Search for government privacy.

* Tip: You can also combine tips 2 and 3 to search for sites with a specific country's code. Example search: government privacy

4. Utilize Google Scholar

Google Scholar allows you to search for primarily scholarly or academic articles. It pulls from various sources, including open access (freely available) online journals, journal publishers, and institutional repositories (where faculty, staff, and students can place their academic work online).

Edit your settings in Google Scholar to add the University of Pittsburgh as your library. This way, if Google Scholar recognizes that the results are available to you through Pitt, it will give you a handy Full-Text @ Pitt link you can use to access the full-text via our resources. For more information, check out these Google Scholar Search Tips.

5. Learn how to develop effective keywords

Sometimes figuring out the best way to structure or word your search can be challenging. In general, follow these guidelines:

  • Start with broader searches, and then narrow your focus.
    • This will both help you not miss important information, but also learn more about your topic.
    • For example, first start searching for autonomous vehicles, and then drill down to self-driving cars.
  • Keep a running list of terms you have tried, where you have tried them, and what worked and what didn't.
    • This will help you reduce wasted effort redoing work you've already done.
  • Use synonyms and any suggested subject terms or keywords
    • i.e. mobile banking, mobile commerce, mobile money, transfer payments
  • Add descriptive keywords like "forecast," "market," and "sales" to your search to retrieve more relevant results.

If you have questions about your specific topic, contact your librarian!

7. Learn more Advanced Google tips and tricks

Check out this infographic on more ways to use advanced Google search tricks.

Take a free online course offered by experts at Google to learn how to become a "power searcher."

Contact a librarian for help applying these tips to your own research!