How to Return Websites for Your Academic Research in a Google Search

Updated on January 14, 2020
Joshua Crowder profile image

Joshua has work experience in manufacturing, distribution, and aerospace. He received his BBA in accounting from Kent State University.

Google Search has Many Tools for Students

While searching with Google you may be missing out on tricks that will help you get to your sources effectively. These tricks are abundant and can be found simply by searching the internet for Google search commands that will filter your searches.
While searching with Google you may be missing out on tricks that will help you get to your sources effectively. These tricks are abundant and can be found simply by searching the internet for Google search commands that will filter your searches.

Be More Effective at Google Searches

You’ve probably been wondering all through school how to filter your searches to decrease your research time. I’ve completed a lot of internet research in my day, but when I learned the trick that I explain shortly the time I spend searching through my Google results was decreased significantly.

Top-Level Domains

You must understand top-level domains before we move on with the main discursion. Top-level domains are usually at the end of the uniform resource locator (URL) when you are on a homepage of a website. If not, it will be followed by some type of path that you can see in the example illustration below. The most common TLD that we see on the internet is .com, but not the only one. Other popular TLDs include:

  • .org
  • .net
  • .us
  • .int
  • .mil

Uniform Resource Locator

A uniform resource locator (URL) is the string of numbers and/or letters that make up a web address. A URL usually directs one searching the internet to a website and starts with https or http most of the time.
A uniform resource locator (URL) is the string of numbers and/or letters that make up a web address. A URL usually directs one searching the internet to a website and starts with https or http most of the time.

TLDs for Academic Research

As students looking for information good sources, we are most interested in a selective number of TLDs. All schools will vary, so I’m going to use the TLDs which have been accepted in the institutions where I have studied for an example. Each TLD that is generally used for educational research for students is presented with a brief explanation below.

  • .edu – This TLD is limited to institutions that are related to education. Primarily, it is used for universities and colleges in the United States.


  • .org – This TLD is can be used for any entity or any person that is permitted to register as an organization. It is primarily used by non-profit organizations.


  • .gov – This TLD is limited to institutions that are affiliated with the United States Government.

Generally, you can trust most sources with the a .edu or .gov TDL. Organization are generally trusted do to their indifference because they are not profit producing businesses.

Searching for Specific TLDs

A Google search without restrictions will bring up a long list of results the is seen as all relevant to the Google search algorithm. To narrow your web search to only include TLDs that we discussed earlier you can follow these steps:

1. type “site:” in the Google search bar.

2. Type the TLD that you want to search for without adding a space.

3. You will have to type another space preceding whatever your search term(s) are.

For Example, if I want to look up operations management and only want to see the websites that have an .edu TLD, you would need to type the following into Google:

site:.edu operations management

See the search result in the illustration below. Notice that the results only display links that have the .edu TLD in the URL. This should be true for each results page.

A Google Search While Using the Site Command for a Specific TLD

Here the Google site command is used to find all relevant results that can be found on the web sites of educational institutions for the search term operations management.
Here the Google site command is used to find all relevant results that can be found on the web sites of educational institutions for the search term operations management.

Other Applications

The site command can make searching for educational resources easier to find but can also serve other means. Perhaps you only want to search for web sites in specific countries. To do so you would just have to use the TLD for the specific country that you want to search in. The search can actually be localized even more my adding a complete website URL to only provide results that from that website.

References

List of Internet top-level domains. (n.d.). Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains?utm_source=zapier.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=zapier#Country_code_top-level_domains.

Research Guides: Website Research: URLs. (2019, November 27). Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://libguides.cmich.edu/web_research/urls.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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    © 2019 Joshua Crowder

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