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Searching for Resources: Google

Google Search & Tips

Google Home Page









Everyone uses Google, but it should not be your only means for searching for sources. A Google search often means wading through thousands of hits whereas more focused searches on catalogues and databases can provide much more refined and quality-controlled results.

Even so, Google will remain an essential search tool and can be made more efficient by using some of the filters and specialised Google search engines like Google Scholar and Google Books.

Tips for searching Google

Phrases in quotes - Use quotes around any set of words as a phrase e.g. "inclusive education". This is especially useful when searching for proper names. It prevents you from getting results where your search terms are on the page but unrelated.

Synonyms & OR - Use synonyms and try to think of several different ways that your search term or concept could be stated. Combine the terms with 'OR,' which must be in caps or it is ignored.

Limit by domain or web site - limit by 'site:' which looks for terms on a specific site, e.g.

Additional Search Options - Use search options like Images, Maps, Books, News, Videos, etc. which will narrow your search.

Filtering search results - After Googling a phrase, in the top right corner of the search results will be a 'tools' option. It will let you filter your Google searches by date and type of result. For more information, visit Google's page on filtering search results. 

Repeat important terms or change order - Repeating key terms more than once and changing order will give different results. For example searching "cats football dogs" will get different search results than "cats cats cats football dogs."

File type or format - filetype: will look a specified format, e.g. Forest schools filetype:pdf

Advanced search gives you options that allow you to search more precisely, which means you won’t have to look through as many hits to find what you want. In Advanced Search you can:

  • specify how you want your search terms to be searched.
  • limit results by language, date, file format and more.
  • perform a domain specific search (.org, .gov).
  • perform a page specific search (

You can access Advanced Search by visiting Google's home page, selecting 'Settings' and then selecting 'Advanced Search.' 

For More tips about searching Google, go to How to search on Google.

Google Scholar


Google Scholar searches for scholarly and academic publishers, professional papers, conference proceedings, online journals, citations and open access articles. When using Google Scholar, you will need to connect it to the UCL Library Catalog. You can do this by opening the settings and selecting 'library links.' By informing Google Scholar that you are based at UCL, you will be able to access full text copies of journal articles. Articles that UCL subscribes to will have a findit@UCL Icon next to the search result. 


For more information on setting up Google Scholar, check out the instructional video by University of Sheffield. 



"How to change google scholar settings" by University of Sheffield.

Google Books

Google Books is made up of costed and free resources mostly from publishers and libraries. You can download PDF files of entire books if they are out of copyright or if the publisher has given permission. Also included in Google Books are Worldcat links which can be useful in finding the physical location of books around the world.


Tips for Google Books

Use Worldcat in 'Find in a library' option. If you open up a search result for a book, on the left hand side will be the option 'Find in a library.' This will re-direct you to Worldcat, where you can find a library near you that has a physical copy of the book. 

Sample pages for ebooks and check the table of contents.

Download books to e-devices from Google Books in the open EPUB format.

Screenshot of the home page of Google's Dataset Search

Dataset Search enables users to find datasets stored across thousands of repositories. It simplifies a search process that can often make data discovery difficult.  By using a single interface to search across multiple repositories, this search engine makes finding data more efficient.