Minus

One trick for doing a web search is to EXCLUDE terms by using a minus sign in front of the keyword. I am currently trying to do a search for the human population numbers in the circumpolar regions.

Sample Search

I start my search with

circumpolar population

However, I notice that I am getting several articles on the populations of polar bears. I want to exclude these so my new search terms are

circumpolar population -“polar bears”

The minus sign signifies to NOT return results that mention polar bears. Notice the quotations around “polar bears” which tells the search to look for that exact phrase. This helps, but I am still finding results about animals and bugs. I add the word human to my search.

circumpolar population -“polar bears” human

This returns results with issues on human rights. So I want to exclude “human rights” from my search. So I place a minus sign in front of those keywords in my search.

circumpolar population -“polar bears” human -“human rights”

Many of the results are in reference to climate change so I restrict my results further by excluding with the minus sign “climate change.”

circumpolar population -“polar bears” human -“human rights” -“climate change”

Exclude Terms

When conducting a search notice what results come up that you are not looking for. Modify your search by placing a minus sign in front of the keyword. If you want to exclude a phrase such as “polar bear” make sure to put quotations around what you want to exclude. Keep adding terms to exclude from your search as you narrow down what you are searching for.

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