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ENG 112: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

Pro Web Search

Google Like a Pro

Effective internet searching is as much about eliminating the results you don’t need as it is finding the ones you do. Using the following tips can help you clear away the clutter of results you don’t need — and make it easier to find the results you do.

  • Use quotation marks to search for webpages containing an exact phrase.
  • Use AND and OR to combine search terms.
  • Use parentheses to create more sophisticated searches.
  • Narrow your results to a specific date range.
  • Search for results from one specific website.
  • Use – (the minus sign) to exclude specific terms from results.

Based on the News Literacy Project's Eight Tips to Google Like a Pro

The ABC Test

Use the ABC test as a quick way to help you determine the credibility of an information source such as a website, article, or book. 


The source of the information

  • Who is the author, publisher, source, or sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • What do others have to say about the resource? Use lateral reading! 
    • Search the Internet for information about the resource.
    • Don't just rely on the information presented by the resource itself.


The purpose and point of view of the information

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, to teach, to sell, to entertain?
  • Do the authors or sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are multiple perspectives included? 
  • What bias do you bring to the topic? Are you only looking for sources that confirm your current beliefs?

Be Aware of Confirmation Bias

"The first step in countering confirmation bias is to recognize it in ourselves. Then we can guard against it by getting our news from a wide range of credible sources, reading opinion columns from a variety of viewpoints, and including these varied perspectives in our social media posts."

From the News Literacy Project - "Don't Let Confirmation Bias Narrow Your Perspective."


The timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current or historical information?
  • Don't forget the basics!
    • Are the links functional? Do they take you to updated information sources?
    • Are there lots of spelling and grammatical errors?

What do you know about your info?

"Information is only as reliable as the people who are receiving it. If readers do not change or improve their ability to seek out and identify reliable information sources, the information environment will not improve." 
Julia Koller, A Learning Solutions Lead Developer; Future of the Internet - Pew Research Center