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Google for Researchers

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The Deep Web

There's much more to the web than you can find by running typical Google searches. As the picture below shows, most of what's on the web is in this area that's not typically found by casual searching. This type of material includes:

  • documents published in specialized databases,
  • those published in non-html format (like .pdf files),
  • paid information,
  • dynamic webpages, and
  • restricted access information.

You won't be able to access all of the deep web. In fact, that's the part of the web hackers tend to focus on. But there are tools you can use to find wonderful reliable research sources in this ocean of information.

Deep Web

Source: Juanico Environmental Consultants. Invisible Web. n.d. GIF file.

Use the Advanced Search Form

You can use advanced features in Google to refine your search using either the Google Advanced Search form or using short cuts in your regular Google search.

Using these advanced search techniques will help you unlock the information in the deep web.

Using the Advanced Search Form:

Google Advanced Search form

 Find the Google Advanced Search form at the link below:

Advanced Search Short Cuts

You can also do "advanced" searching in the basic search box on the main Google home page.

Try using the techniques below:


"employee participation" [give me only documents that contain this exact phrase]

alternatives-- whatever keywords or key phrases describe your research topic

salsa -dance [give me results about salsa, that EXCLUDE anything to do with dancing]

alternatives-- whatever keywords you want to exclude from your results

domain:gov [return ONLY results from government education websites]

alternatives-- other domains such as domain:org for non-profits; domain:edu for education websites; domain:fr for sites originating in France; etc. [return ONLY results from youtube]

alternatives-- other sites such as for information directly from the Pew Research Center's site

filetype:pdf [return only results that are pdf documents]

alternatives-- other document types such as filetype:ppt for PowerPoint presentations;filetype:doc for Word documents; etc.


database [include the word "database" in your search to find searchable databases

example - california sex trade database

related [add the word "related" in front of a web address you already know to find related sites

example -