Have you ever thought about how often you use search engines? Over the weekend I used Google to find a restaurant for a family meal, to buy a pair of shoes online and to search for some holiday destinations for the summer. This made me realise the huge role in our everyday lives played by these search engines but most of us only use the basic functionality available to us.
There are many ways in which our searches can be refined and improved to make them work even better for us.
Here are some tips that are useful in our everyday life but also as part of our studying for our CIMA or any other exams or research. These tips will make your search more efficient, quicker and it will narrow down the search results to those that you really need.
1. Use Quotation marks - Using Quotation Marks in your Google search ensures that all the search results will include exactly those words in it. For example, “Porters Five Forces” will only generate results on this specific model, rather than include other models that Porter has developed.
2. Use the base word and not suffixes – This will ensure that you don't exclude any relevant pages. For example, use 'ethics' rather than 'ethical' or 'ethically' to capture a broader search result.
3. Use .. - This will obtain results for a specific period of time. For example, 2000..2015 will only show results within this time band.
4. Use site: - Using site: generate results directly from a specific website. For example, site:www.astranti.com - will only include results from our website
5. The Google Auto-complete Function - Take advantage of Google auto-complete to obtain popular and similar searches. A drop down list will appear as you type.
6. Use OR - Using OR combines two searches. For example, SWOT OR TOWS will generate results for both terms. This can be useful where a variety of terms are used for the same subject.
7. Use Define: - This will define a word through search. By search define: working capital we get a number of definitions For example, working capital can be defined as "The capital of a business which is used in its day-to-day trading operations, calculated as the current assets minus the current liabilities”
8. Use a ~ (tidle) - Using a tidle before a word will also search synonyms and similar words.
9. Use related: - Using related: finds similar websites to the one that you searched. For example, related:www.youtube.com will also generate results for other video websites.
10. Don't use common words - Try not to use common words such as 'a' and 'the' as these words are usually ignored in the search, They should only be used when they are part of a specific phrase.
11. Use a | (vertical bar) - A vertical bar will include all the words mentioned in the search bar. For example, searching for PEST | PESTLE
12. Use a – (dash) - A dash will exclude a term in the results if a dash in included before that word
I hope all of this has been helpful whether you are trying to find information on your CIMA exam subjects or simply planning a holiday in the sun!
Nick Best and the Astranti team