(This project is worth 20 points.)
Search Engines can provide easy access to a wealth of information
that otherwise would be unavailable to most people.
Unfortunately, they collect and store information in different ways,
so using advanced searching on their information stores varies
from one search provider to the next—no two do advanced
searching the same way.
Each search engine generally provides site-specific instructions for
retrieval of information.
But you may have to
hunt around for that information!
In spite of the different methods used to do advanced searching,
most search engines support similar searching concepts.
These include using Boolean operators
NOT) and PHRASE searching.
Not knowing these advanced searching concepts and techniques can
limit your use of the Internet.
For example if you wanted to find web sites about dolphins (the
marine mammal) near Miami Florida, you could try a Google search
You will get about 14 million hits, nearly all of them about the
But if you try a search that eliminates web pages containing
Miami Dolphins you will find nearly all the
remaining pages found are useful to you.
Complete the following exercise and submit your answers as follows.
. Be sure to save as
, and not
Web page, HTML only
or any other type.
Web page, Complete
Student Name: ( enter your name here )
In this exercise you will use three search engines to search
for three different items (multi-word terms), in three different ways
You will search using the appropriate site-specific methods for doing
PHRASE types of searches.
Then you will record in the table below the number of
you got for each item, for each search engine, and for each method,
for a total of 27 results.
Before beginning this exercise please read the textbook chapters on
searching and search techniques.
There are also links for searching tips in the class resources.
For Lycos searching tips, read
Seven Steps Toward Better Searching.
For Google tips you can read
Four NETS for Better Searching.
You can also use a search engine to search for something like
Using Google Search
Check the appropriate search engine Websites for specific
information about how that particular site deals with
Boolean searching (
and with phrase-searching.
To begin this assignment, access the Bing search engine at www.Bing.com.
Do a Boolean OR, AND, and PHRASE type of search, for each of the three items (multi word search terms) shown below.
You must refer to the
links to determine how to accomplish these searches.
obvious way to do these three different searches
may not work!
(And the directions may not be completely correct; for example, the help
for Lycos is wrong when it says you can use lowercase for
You may have to experiment a bit.
Or even search for help on searching!)
You will search for websites about these items:
Make a note of how many
you got with your nine different searches.
This information shows in most search engines in the
upper right of the window, a line that looks like:
Results 1 - 10 of about 30,800,000 for XYZ
(The exact location of the
number of hits varies with
the search engine, so you may have to look around the results web page for
Now repeat using these two search engines and see if you get similar results:
Put just the NUMBER of results for each term (in
the example above that would be
into the correct locations in the table below.
(One number for each search term, for each method of searching, and
for each search engine: a total of 27 results total.)
|Search Engine||Search Term||Number of Hits|
|OR search||AND search||PHRASE search|
An AND search means any matching pages must contain
all the search words,
but in any order and possibly with other words in between.
An OR search means any matching pages must contain
any one or more search terms, but it doesn't have to have them all.
A PHRASE search means all the search terms, exactly
as typed, with no extra or missing words allowed.
So a search for
root beer would mean:
All pages must contain both of the words
...beer is the root of
all evil in the world today...
(Matches since the page has both terms.)
All pages must contain either
...For some reason weeds like to take
root in my garden...
(Matches since the page has at least one term.
Note the example page for AND search above also matches an OR search!)
All pages must contain
(None of the previous examples will match a PHRASE search,
since the page must contain the exact phrase
Any web page that matches a PHRASE search will also match
an AND search and an OR search.
Also any web page that matches
an AND search will also match an OR search.
So if you did your searching correctly, you will always have the most
hits for an OR search and the fewest for a PHRASE search,
and all three numbers will be very different.
This is illustrated using the diagram below.
The circle on the left represents all the hits when searching
for just the word
The circle on the right represents all the hits when searching
for just the word
The intersection of these represents just the hits that have
Beer in the page.
The small circle in the center represents just those pages
that have the exact phrase
If you get strange results, such as the same number of hits for different types of searches, or fewer hits for an OR search than an AND search, you should check your search very carefully and make sure you've done the search correctly. Remember, each search engine does these searches differently! So read the advanced search help (or search tips) before using any particular search engine.
Yahoo Search is really Microsoft's Bing search (same for AltaVista and Lycos). This search engine tries to limit hits based on guessing what you really want. But that doesn't happen with some advanced searches! So occasionally you will see more hits from a PHRASE search than from an AND search, and other anomalies, when using any Bing-based search engine. (Google has been experimenting with “broken” Boolean search as well.)
Copyright ©2011 by Wayne Pollock