Have you ever been asked to do Internet research and come up empty handed? Follow these seven tips and become your officeís researching guru.

Be Specific. When researching on the Internet, youíll find better results the more specific you are. For example, donít just search the word "consulting" if youíre really looking for "management consulting associations in Rhode Island."
   
Use Punctuation. If youíre searching for something specific, such as plasma display panels, separating each word with a semicolon tells the search engine to list only those sites that contain those words in the correct order. As well, the use of quotation marks around your words ensures that the search engine retrieves your exact phrase.
   
Consider Boolean. Boolean refers to the use of the words AND, OR, NOT and parentheses in specific searches. If you were looking for information on personal digital assistant usage in Europe, you could enter personal digital assistant AND statistics AND Europe. Boolean operators must be capitalized with a space on either side.
     
Use Plus and Minus Signs. Typing a plus sign before you search term indicates that the word must be included in the search results (for example, whiteboards+interactive). A minus sign precedes a word or phrase that should not be covered in the search (computers-DELL).
   
Search More Than One Engine. Meta-search engines transmit your search to several different search enginesí databases. After entering your search term once, you receive results from several search engines.
   
Try a Large Search Engine. Some of the largest search engines are not included in the meta-search engines. By casting a wider net, youíre more likely to get results for ambiguous searches. Some of the largest search engines are: www.northernlight.com, www.hotbot.com and www.altavista.com. Depending on what youíre looking for, another good site to check out is www.google.com as it retrieves only the most popular Web sites.
   
Review Search Engines. To stay current on the latest search engines and techniques, check out sites that review them and offer tips on how to search effectively. Bookmark www.searchiq.com for quick reference.

Like anything in life, the more you search, the better you become. Donít be afraid to try new search engines and techniques. In no time at all youíll be able to pull information quickly AND accurately.


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