Learn how to develop relevant, powerful search terms

Walk through this example from Dan’s study, then replace the search terms with your own. Dan wants to write about the integration of Eritrean refugees into German society and labor markets. In this exercise, you are going to follow my advice to him, and to the use of Google Search and the problem of transforming our topic into a research question, then repeat these steps using your own terms.

Learn how to use Boolean operators in Google Search

From this exercise, you will learn how first to cast your net widely, then narrow it down, and from there you will know how to change your terms to expand, narrow, or enrich your search as you go along

  • Search for “current trends” and see that you get a zillion results all over the place
  • Search for “current trends HR” to see how, by adding this second term, your results narrow considerably
  • Search for “current trends HR integrating refugees” to see how, by adding his particular topic, he begins to get some interesting results, including relevant studies by the OECD
  • Search for “current trends HR integrating refugees Deutsche Bank” to see how one might direct your search to country- or sector-specific resources.
  • Search for “current trends HR integrating refugees Syrian”, then replace “Syrian” with “Ukrainian” then “Eritrean” and where you will find many returns for “Ukrainian,” because there are so many, but maybe none for “Eritrean,” because there are comparatively few, and then imagine how this is very good to know: if Dan want to think about Eritrean refugees, he will do well, in my view, to compare and contrast the discussion of Syrian refugees in 2015 to that of Ukrainian refugees in 2022 and, on the basis if additional research, discover what might be unique for his third group and to do so in a comparative, historical dimension the better to identify what might be specific for his interest.

Apply this example to your work

  • Replace “HR” with your field and so begin with “current trends SCM”, for “supply chain management, or whatever your field is.
  • Then add “Deloitte” then replace that PWC, EY, McKinsey, HBR, and/or The Economist until you are impressed with how many top-level managerial perspectives their might be on your topic.

Learn how search works

  • Watch How Search Works to learn how Google Search scours the web and creates indexes based on keywords and what they might analyze in the way of context and correlations.
  • Watch Google Parisian Love to see a fun, 60 second example of how this work to solve a problem.
  • To learn a little bit about what is going on when you do this, watch Google Auto Complete to learn how Google anticipates your thought