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Using The Search Function Effectively

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Old 01 April 2009, 09:45 AM   #1  
DJ Dunk
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Question Using The Search Function Effectively

This sticky is intended as a tool to assist you in using ScoobyNet to find the information you are looking for. It doesn't cover everything, but it will help you use the Search function effectively. We'll try to update this thread if changes are made or issues arise.

Why is Search returning results that don't match my keywords exactly?
By default, search will return words that are very similar to your criteria (excluding common words).
Using the Quick Search will limit the results you see since you can't change any options. Use the Advanced Search whenever you can for more accurate results.

How do I get better results then?
Use quotation marks (also known as double-quotes). This searches for only the word or phrase specified.

"rolling" "road"
returns posts that have the exact words rolling and road in any order.

"rolling road"
returns posts that have these two words in this specific order. Quoting phrases like this is very powerful in improving results.

The more words or phrases you specify, the better results you will achieve.

I've searched, but still don't have what I'm looking for?
Try thinking of other terms people use to refer to things.
For example not everyone refers to the Bugeye model as that; try searching for MY02 or fugly.

I've searched but my results don't go very far back?
At the time of writing, Search returns the first 1000 results only. Bearing in mind that ScoobyNet has over 10 million posts, this means you need to narrow down your search a little more; add more search criteria.

Okay, how can do I do that?
There are a number of ways the search can help you here. Using the Advanced Search for this is vital.
  • Add more keywords or quoted phrases to your search
  • Restrict the number of forums upon which you are searching. This highlights the importance of posting the correct forum areas; it's for your benefit when trying to search for information.
  • Specify whether to search posts or thread titles only
  • Show threads with a number of replies greater than zero
  • Add in the name of the member who made the post, if known
  • Narrow down the timescale in which the post was made if you know it. If you know it was in the last 2 weeks, choose that option.
  • Specify the Sort Order of the results. Sorting by 'Relevancy' can work wonders rather than displaying the default, most recent, results.

The usefulness of the Search function is only as good as your posts. You can help it become more powerful by trying to maintain good spelling, less slang and by not using text speak.

Above all, get to know the Advanced Search screen as it can be very useful. Specifying a sort order by 'Relevancy' when the most recent posts are not as important will often transform your results.

Last edited by DJ Dunk; 04 January 2013 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Updated
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