Writer's Help 2.0 > As a student, how do I use search?

Document created by Digital Support on Jan 25, 2017Last modified by Digital Support on Apr 25, 2018
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The search bar is located at the top of the Table of Contents, on the left side of the page.


Enter a word, phrase, or question into the search bar

Type a search term and click the magnifying glass to start a search.


Alternatively, you may click on one of the terms that drops down when you start to type


View your search results

Search results are grouped into clusters (topic categories) that can be expanded or collapsed. The number in parentheses following a bold cluster heading indicates how many results are in the cluster. If a cluster contains only one or a few results, all the results for that cluster are displayed.


Click on the cluster to expand. After expanding the heading, there will be more selections to choose from.


Click on a result to view related content

Clicking on any result within a cluster opens new content in the center panel. Notice that your search results persist on the left. This allows you to simply click on another result to view a different content page.


Smart search

Most search engines function as exact word searches, which means the search engine will search pages for whatever word or phrase you enter. This works great for most purposes, but what if you don't know the exact word or phrase you're looking for?

Here's how Writers' Help 2.0 is different: the search was built to accommodate expert and non-expert terminology. So if you're blanking on the phrase "thesis statement," but you know it's the main idea or main point of a paper, then search for "main idea" or "main point." Similarly, if you're a multilingual writer, and you're having trouble with articles, but you can't remember the term "article," then search for the words you do remember, such as the articles themselves: "a," "an," or "the."

That's why we call our search smart. It should generate helpful results for most of your queries, even when you're not sure exactly what you're looking for.

Find words you aren't sure how to spell

Do your best to spell the word in search, and you should be able to find the correct spelling in Writer's Help 2.0.

A search for "coma" returns results for "comma."

Search for related words or descriptions of the word

"Smart search" allows you to search, even if you don't know the exact term.

A search for "three dots" returns results for "ellipsis mark (. . .)."

What should I do if I can't find what I'm searching for?

If your search terms aren’t turning up results that seem relevant, the following tips might help:

  • Take another look at your assignment. Enter key terms from the assignment (such as analyze or coherent or MLA) in the search bar.
  • Try using only essential words in your search. Instead of typing “How do I begin my paper” into the search bar, try “begin paper.”
  • If you can’t think of a particular term, try to describe the problem. If you can’t remember “thesis,” for example, try typing in “main idea” or “main point.”
  • Click on a “related search” term at the end of a search results list.
  • Discuss your search with your instructor. Your instructor will be able to help you develop your ideas.