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Physical Therapist Assistant: Finding Websites

Google Search Tips

Tips for effective Google searching: 

  • Use Google advanced search to create the most precise search and for options such as limiting by date, language, and usage rights. 

  • Leave out small, non-descript words such as a, and, the. Google ignores most of these words anyway. 

  • Use clear, precise, descriptive search terms. Do not type your search as a question or statement. 

Example: instead of searching: What are the possible long-term health effects of Covid?, use precise keywords like: long-term health effects Covid 

  • Put exact phrases in quotes 

Example: "Yellowstone National Park" 

  • Put a minus symbol before a word to exclude it from your search results. 

Example: electric vehicles -Tesla 

  • Use OR between words that can be used interchangeably or to search more then one idea at a time. 

Example: junior high or middle school 

  • Use a tilde before a word or phrase to search for related terms 

Example: ~college (This will find related terms such as higher education and 


  • Use the appropriate subset of Google depending on what you need. 

Example: Google Scholar, Books, News, Images, Translate, Videos. 

  • MCC Library resources (books and articles) are findable in Google Scholar. Go into the settings and add McHenry County College Library, save it, and then search. Items that the library owns will be indicated to the right with a Find it @MCC link. 

  • Search within a specific domain or site. 


Example:   *Do not leave any spaces after the colon.* 

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Search Google Scholar to find scholarly literature from many disciplines in a variety of formats. 

View our document with instructions on adding MCC library resources to your Google Scholar search Results.

How to Cite Sources from Google Scholar

  1. Click on the image of quotation marks below the article information.
  2. Copy and paste the correct citation format into your document. (This will most likely be either APA or MLA style.)
  3. Make the necessary changes to the citation depending on the citation style.


  • Hanging indent
  • Double-spaced
  • Match font of your paper
  • Find and paste the DOI (find by clicking on the title of the article - not all will include a DOI)


  • Hanging indent
  • Double-spaced.
  • Font: Times New Roman 12pt

Evaluating Websites

  • Neither the look and feel of a website (is it professional, slick, and free of errors) nor the domain (.org, .com, .edu) is a clear indication of the quality and credibility of a site. 
  • Identify the purpose of the site (which isn't always obvious), and who is behind the site. A commercial site like the New York Times is not inherently bad because it is a .com. A page on an educational site might actually be a student post on their college website, which isn't bad, but it may not be authoritative. An organization might look like a non-profit, but actually be backed by special interests.
  • Take a cursory look at the website, then look up info about the site on Google. This is called lateral searching. Once you have done this, go back to the site and look at it more closely. Not all websites are going to be transparent. That is why you have to go outside of the site itself to help determine its quality.
  • The first few results at the top of the search are not necessarily the best, so be sure to look further down or even on the next page.