Helping students to do an Internet search Back to list

Search operators can be useful tools to help your students find information on the web.

The goal of education has shifted its emphasis from the collection and memorisation of information only, to the inclusion of a broader concept of knowledge: “The meaning of knowing has shifted from being able to remember information, to being able to find and use it” (Simon, 1996). The
ability to access, understand and reflect on all kinds of information is essential if individuals are to be able to participate fully in our knowledge-based society 
(Taken from the draft document onReading Literacy for PISA 2015)

With millions of web pages on the Internet, your students need to develop their search skills to find the information they’re looking for. Can you help them? If you use Google, the following search operators may be useful.

Search within a site

Let’s imagine you’re looking for animal vocabulary activities on the Macmillan website. You could use the following search operator in Google (name of site:query).

macmillanelt: animal

Search for a specific term

If you’re looking for a specific activity or the lyrics of a song, put the words between inverted commas (“query”):

“starting routine”

Search for a number range

If you’re looking for a specific range in numbers, such as the price of something or the year something happened, you can use (..) between the two numbers with no spaces. For example, I’m looking for old pictures of Barcelona, so I can use this search operator:

1925..1945 Images Barcelona

If you’re interested in trying out more search terms, check out this page:

Maria Toth