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Extended Essay: Search Engines, Repositories, & Directories

A guide to the research and writing process required for students completing the IB Extended Essay.

Power Searching


This page gives suggestions for effective Internet searching using:

Other Search Engines
Meta Search Engines
Search Directories

Britannica ImageQuest - University of Pennsylvania students searching the library in 1962
A different kind of search:  University of Pennsylvania students looking for books in the library stacks in 1962 (Britannica ImageQuest)


Google is obviously one of the best known search engines, but are you making full use of all the features Google offers?  Find out more about how Google can be used from these help pages from Google Support:

Five Basic Search Tips from Google
Using Search Operators, Punctuation, and Symbols to Get More Specific Search Results
Finding Images, Videos, and Text That You Have Permission to Use
Filtering Your Results from Web Searches and Image Searches
Using Advanced Search When Looking for Websites or Images
Understanding the Different Parts of the Google Search Results Page

Try using Advanced Search in Google to improve the relevancy of the results you get:

Advanced Search for Websites
Advanced Search for Images

Try these specific searches in Google:

Search Engines

Search engines are programs that search documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. Web search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo!, enable users to search for documents on the Internet.

Typically, web search engines work by sending out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query.

Metasearch engines

Meta search engines are search engine tools that pass queries on to many other search engines and/or directories and then summarize all the results in one handy interface.

Search Directories

A search directory is a website in which links to information are organized by subject, and in alphabetical order, to make it easier for users to find the information they're seeking.


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