Personal tools

Google search tips

Things you should know about Google

  • Have a look at the most searched-for things on Google in 2017: and what people are searching for right now on Google Trends – what does this tell you about the nature of things most people are searching for on the Internet?
  • Google is so effective because it personalises results according to your search history. If you want to get away from this, make sure you sign out of Google accounts so your cached information does not affect your search results. To see what is on your Google Dashboard:
  • Even if you sign out, information is cached on your computer which will affect your search results. This can be great for everyday searching - Google knows which cinema you want to visit, the holidays you have booked, the things you are shopping for at the moment etc. If you find you are getting stuck in a rut with academic searching, try clicking on the Web History link to disable your Web History and use the following shortcuts to private browsing:
        • Google Chrome to go incognito press the following keys: ctrl shift n
        • Firefox private browsing: ctrl shift p
        • Internet Explorer: ctrl shift p
        • Safari: go to the apple icon in the menu bar and select private browsing

Google Knows Best

When searching using Google it will suggest alternative spellings, include synonyms of your search terms, return results that match similar terms to those in your search query and search for words with the same stem, like "sustainable" when you search for “sustain”. If you need Google to search for your terms exactly as you enter them, use the 'Verbatim' search which can be found once you have run a search by clicking on “Tools” under the search box and select the “All results” drop down menu.

Useful Google Commands

  • To search for keywords within a site use site:[insert url] e.g. defence acquisition

The site command is a very powerful search tool - more suggestions on how to use it to its best is available here:

  • If you find a really good website, look for ones that have similar content using related:[insert url] e.g.
  • To find documents try searching by filetype e.g. defence acquisition filetype:pdf

Alternatively you can go to the Advanced Search page (located by clicking on "Settings" under the search box once you have run a search) which also guides you in using these commands and allows you to perform other functions such as a safe search, or filter by licence type.

The list of Google command shortcuts is ever growing and changing as the Internet evolves. Further Google specific search operators can be found here:


Google Scholar

Google Scholar cuts out a lot of the ‘noise’ that you may experience when searching for academic information by limiting its search to academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, etc.

  • Google Scholar can be accessed at:
  • To set your Google Scholar preferences, go to settings under the hamburger icon (top left).
    • Under Library Links you can add Cranfield University. You will then be shown where full text is available via a Cranfield University subscription
  • Your search terms will be looked for in the full-text of the document when searching. If you wish to improve the relevancy of your results, try:
      • using ‘intitle:search term’ if you wish the first word of your search term to appear in the title of the article you are searching for;
      • using ‘allintitle:search term’ if you wish all of your search terms to appear in the title of the article you are searching for.


Google Scholar Metrics

Available under the hamburger icon in the top left this facility allows you to view most popular scholarly publications ordered by h5-index and h5-median scores. Further information on Scholar Metrics is available here: