When we’re doing some research online, the first port of call for many of us is usually Google. The thing is, the powerful search engine sometimes isn’t powerful enough to lead us to exactly the information that we’re looking for. This warrants taking your research to the next level. Here’s how to dig deeper on the internet to find exactly what you want:
1. Try other search engines
There are two other big search engines that are direct rivals to Google, namely Microsoft’s Bing and DuckDuckGo. There are also other tools that focus on specific types of searches. Wolfram Alpha, for instance, is excellent for turning up comparisons and mathematical formulas. You can use the site to do things such as solve equations, look up chemical structures, learn about significant people, examine the human anatomy and much more.
If you’re looking for a public post or message, take a look at Boardreader. This is a tool designed specifically to plow through public forums and message boards for matches to your search. It can also reveal specific resources and experts on the topic you’re trying to research.
Another great resource is the Internet Archive. It caches old webpages, together with millions of articles, images, and programs. All you need to do is type a few keywords into the search box to begin sifting through them.
2. Take a look at social media
Although it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find a Tweet with a link to a crucial dossier on your research topic, it’s possible that you’ll find someone talking about or linking to the subject that you’re interested in. The inherent power of social media searches is that they can turn up new leads when it seems like all possible avenues have been explored.
Facebook and Twitter both have their own search tools. You can try searching using a few keywords, but you can also set the search to something more advanced. The Facebook search results page allows you to use filters on the left of the screen. You can tweak your search to specific languages, dates or other parameters.
3. Seek out experts in your research field
A completely different approach to your online search is to seek out experts that can help you with your research. Try looking up people who specialize in the area you’re interested in. Social media searches as mentioned above can be a good place to start, but you can also try the search engines to look up articles and pay attention to who wrote them, as well as the experts that were cited inside them.
Educational institutions and universities are also great places to look for an expert in your research area. Stanford University, for example, lists its experts by category. Many companies and community websites also have similar directories, which makes it easy to get contact information for people that might be able to help you.
4. Find academic journals
Make yourself aware of the specific journals that are authority publications in your field. When you know what they are, you can head straight to their websites and look up the articles you need. If you still can’t figure out which journal or journals you need to consult, you can check out Wikipedia’s comprehensive list of search engines specifically relating to academic topics.
Many of these are accessible to the public, and ScienceDirect is a great example of a journal resource that you can find on Wikipedia’s list. It allows you to search for documents by keyword, author and journal title.
Similar resources also exist for non-academic documents, but documents that are just as specialized nonetheless. It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking out sports results or book publishers – some sort of database is out there that’s just for you.
5. Try a different angle
Failing all else, try using different keywords for your searches, or just type something related to what you’re searching for. It might just lead you to what you were looking for in the first place!