I was looking at the blog stats tonight and there is a portion that tells you the search terms that people used to find the blog. I’ve noticed this a few times and generally been aghast at some of the things I have seen. People are running searches like
“Obama plan passage political capital”
etc. etc. So here is a quick guide for doing searches:
1. Use google- it has the cached function that lets you see websites that otherwise aren’t available, more customization in terms of search criteria than anything else etc- trust me just use google.
2. Using google you don’t need to use words like and, just type things in.
Now onto real search tips.
1. Start specific- think about what the ideal card for the argument you are looking for would say. Shoot for the moon first. To do this don’t use quotes because you won’t know for sure in what order the words will appear in etc. So if you are looking for a card that will argue that collapse of leadership causes nuclear war, don’t put “leadership collapse causes nuke war”. Most authors don’t right in 5 word causal sentences like that. (http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS291US305&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=”leadership+collapse+causes+nuke+war” as you can see no results). Instead put a string of words that would appear in an ideal card. So something like: US leadership proliferation terrorism nuclear war- which while not perfect at least leads to this http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2009-05/2009-05-06-voa55.cfm?CFID=281289107&CFTOKEN=89821052&jsessionid=88301216fd6ffac72de233607a735a2c1750
(which incidentally lead me to discover this sweet heg bad article http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6W5V-4TWSWX5-3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1000223730&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=498c6906e9a486b71f56809a068708b0)
3. Use selected quotes- so putting “nuclear war” in quotes will stop google from returning articles that say nuclear separate from war. This is a double edged sword though- this will also prevent you from finding articles that say “nuclear exchange” or another synonym. You can add a lot more detail using the advanced function on google which you can click on next to the search box. You can also use the or function in there to search for “nuclear war” or “nuclear exchange” etc.
4. Get broader- if your initial search didn’t turn up something useful then broaden your terms and see if you can churn something else up that way.
5. Use quotes and author names to refine searches- if you find a really good quote on a topic- search to see if someone else has quoted it to respond or use it as evidence to support their own argument. Searching “hegemony khalilzad” you can find articles that are going to be more geared to the types of leadership arguments in debate than just searching for hegemony.
6. Avoid debate terminology- authors don’t write “prolif good” or “healthcare uniqueness”. You need to think about synonyms they would write instead of these terms and use them in your searches.