spacer Follow Our Search Engine Tutorial:
It's a Jungle
The First Search
The Road Narrows
Specificity Counts
Approaching the Bull's-Eye
A Few Notes and...
- Approaching the Bull's-Eye

So you want to get really specific. We've talked about entering search terms, adding additional terms, and defining your search terms as a phrase. But we're not done yet.

Science educators know that the curvature at the surface of a liquid is called meniscus; this is a very useful search term because of its specificity. Also, note that just as you can tell a search engine what to look for, you can also tell it what not to look for.

Do a Super Search

1. Locate the New Search button on your search results page; click on it. This will take you back to the homepage of HotBot where you began your search.

2. Click on the Advanced Search button, located in the left column of the homepage. This will take you to the SuperSearch page.

3. On the Super Search page, you will immediately notice that there are many additional fields in which you can input information.

4. At the very top field on the page, make sure the exact phrase is chosen in the look for pull-down menu and that surface tension of water is entered in the search field.

Direct your attention to the section directly below that contains additional search terms. We will use these options to further specify our search.

5. Look at the Word Filter box. Make sure that the options must contain and the words are selected from the two side-by-side pull-down menus. Add the word meniscus in the field directly below.

6. Just below, make sure that the options must not contain and the words are selected from the two side-by-side pull-down menus. Add the word human in the field directly below. Click on the More Terms button. Again select the options must not contain and the words from the two side-by-side pull-down menus. Add the word soap in the field directly below. This will filter out most results relating to a) the physical and emotional tension that a human might encounter and b) the surface tension of another particular substance -- soap.

7. From the last pull-down menu that now says must contain, select the options should contain, and the phrase from the pull-down menu next to it that now says the words. Add the words molecular attraction in the field directly below.

8. Click Search or press the Enter key on your keyboard and view your results. You've given the search engine a lot more search criteria this time, both in terms of what and what not to include. What are your findings?

Too Specific?

You may find you have too few results. It is possible to do a search that is too specific -- and it's easy to remedy.

Throughout this tutorial our goal has been to provide increasingly specific search terms so that the most relevant Web pages would rise to the top of our results. But as we narrowed our search we may have eliminated links to Web pages that have some useful information. To broaden your results you may want to omit or "loosen" some of your search terms. For example, you may want to select should contain instead of must contain for the term meniscus from the pulldown menu.
image   With these few steps you should be able to conduct more effective searches. But we're not done yet. What about other search engines?

Continue the tutorial: A Few Notes and...  
Continue the Tutorial

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