We all know the drill. Kids need to research a topic. They toss keywords into Google and then meander through the results without much idea of what they are looking at or how to narrow their topic. We go on about boolean operators and search tools but really, we aren’t much farther ahead of them in terms of what is available to help in our efforts to find the information we need.
Thanks to Richard Byrne’s Beyond Google document, I found a tool or two that will make life a little easier for effective searching. Google has several options available to us all that are cleverly hidden. One is Wonder Wheel- a graphic based on your keywords that helps see what categories you might choose when trying to narrow a search.
For this example, I will look into windpower as a topic. When I google “wind power,” I get about 50 million hits. Hmmm….this could take a while. Time to narrow it down.
Begin by looking under your search word. You will see a link that says “show options.” Click it.
Clicking the show options link gives you a plethora of links on the left side of the page. Scroll down until you see Wonder Wheel.
Choosing “Wonder Wheel” gives you a graphic with suggestions of ways to narrow your search a bit. When you click one of the links at the end of a “spoke,” you get another wheel with more filtered results. You’ll also see suggestions for links along the right side of the page.
Another great tool is found right under the Wonder Wheel link. It’s called Timeline, and it lets you search a chronological list of articles pertaining to your search words. For example, if I was interested in the development of wind power in the 1970’s, I could click on Timeline and choose the 1970’s as a time period. It would give me links to available articles about windpower that were published during that time. The graph also gives you an idea of the number of articles in each timeframe.