Get Fast, Accurate Results with Exact Phrases

“Searching for phrases” notes Living Internet “is one of the fastest ways to narrow down results” Their article Search for Phrases, explains how to use this technique.

You can specify a phrase on most search engines by placing it in double quotes. Because they are a form of unique identifier, phrases are very useful at filtering search results to just pages that contain that exact, specific string of characters. Read more

Line It Up

“A working outline,” says the University of Victoria Department of English, can provide you “with a rough map of where the essay will go, making a diagram of your thoughts to sharpen and define your purpose.” The UVic Writer’s Guide explains how to create one in “The Structure of the Essay Outline:”

The beginning is the introduction containing your thesis statement; the end is the conclusion; and the middle or body of the essay contains the argument, supported by evidence or example and designed to prove your thesis. Read more

The Effect of Your Environment, Part II

A Fine Mess

Albert Einstein is widely quoted as saying, “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” If you’ve used his words to defend your own messy ways at school, work, or other parts of your life, you might be hard-wired for disorder. And that can be a good thing. Read more

Culture Club

Online Search Techniques

“The diversity of cultures represented on the Web is an amazing and wonderful thing,” notes Web expert Barbara G. Friedman, who adds, “But online searches are easily thwarted if the user fails to take into account the myriad spellings and meanings that accompany that diversity. Searching for one will not find sites that use the other spelling, or for that matter sites containing misspellings. In addition, the same word can have alternate meanings even within a single language.” Read more

Blast Through Writer’s Block

“Getting started,” say Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, “may be the most difficult task when you sit down to write.” Luckily for us, their book Yes, You Can! 1,200 Inspiring Ideas for Work, Home, and Happiness (Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1996), 101, includes nine ideas to kickstart the process.

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Retrain Your Brain

Magnificent Obsession

“Healthy preoccupations,” say Eric Maisel, Ph.D., and Anne Maisel, “aren’t just for people driven to accomplish something out of the ordinary. They are for everyone.”  In their Psychology Today article Go Ahead, Obsess! written with Carlin Flora, they say, “In order to lead a life that makes you proud, you likely need to up the ante and get obsessed.” Read more

Top Search Tips

Internet Tutorials – Laura B. Cohen’s “basic guide to the Internet” – is a valuable resource for anyone who needs to find information online. Bookmarking her Best Bet Search Tips, for example, means that you’ll always have easy access to proven techniques for effective online research.

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An Essential Tool for Writers

“Use definite, specific, concrete language. Omit needless words.” says William Strunk Jr.  In his extraordinary 71-page book Elements of Style (New York: Macmillan, 1959), he follows his own advice as he steers writers around potential grammatical potholes. And Strunk’s rules – simple directives with examples to illustrate what works and why – apply to research papers, essays, short stories, novels, nonfiction works, business communications, and every other kind of writing. Read more

Right on Time

Much research is geared to people and events which happened at a particular moment in time, whether five minutes or thousands of years ago. NoodleTools.com – which “provides software that teaches students and supports teachers and librarians throughout the research process”  – identifies these search tools to use when timeliness of information is important: Read more