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Using an online search facility should be the fastest way for you to find the information you need, but the number of results could be overwhelming. Here are some tips if you are searching with Google that I have been using in my role as a web editor.
Think of your keywords. The quality of the answers in the search results will depend on the keywords you choose. Try and be as specific as possible. For example if you are looking for a specific organisation's contact details, simply type its name or try its acronym.
Put your keywords inside double quotes if you are looking for a specific term, for example a publication title or an expression like "civil society". If you don't use double quotes, the search will look for the words seperately and will therefore display more results which are likely to be less relevant.
To get answers related to your local area, make sure you add the name of the town or postcode to your keywords. Google will display local results first.
You do not need to put commonly used words, such as "a", "it", "and", "the", "by", "at", and "of", as they are ignored by the search tool. Instead of "local grant for charity", type "town name grant charity".
You will get a different result depending on the order of your keywords. So for example, if you enter "civil society" or "society civil", with or without double quotes, you'll get different types and numbers of results depending on who has used these terms on their sites.
To get useful search results use common phrases or terminology.
If you are looking for a powerpoint presentation or word document just add filetype:doc or filetype.ppt after your keywords. For example: "social media" filetype:ppt The results will only display the document type you selected.
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