How people search for data

I started typing IPCC into my Google search box. Firefox helpfully supplies a pull-down list of common searches to save on typing. (tech note: I’m not sure how it does this; it seems there must be some AJAX trick with Google?)

This time, only one suggestion appeared. It’s a bit alarming; it seems to show a great deal about what most people doing web research think “research” means.

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5 thoughts on “How people search for data

  1. coby says:

    Hi Michael,I have no insights into where the data comes from, but wanted to tell you that my results are completely different, and not alarming. You can see them here:http://vec.com.au/~coby/IPCC-search-suggestions.jpg

  2. My search seems fine as well:Sparrow’s screenshot

  3. Yes, I see similar results on other machines. This one still offers “IPCC wrong” though it has also added “IPCC sea level”.

  4. I looked, and the top hit on ‘IPCC wrong’ is a BBC headline about the Independent Police Complaints Commission. So maybe this tempest should go back in the teapot. I get a smattering of search hits on “(something) refuted” where (something) is eminently reasonable, though; most recently “tragedy of the commons refuted”. I am sure that this googler was disappointed to read my summary of the whole climate change controversy.

  5. James Annan says:

    Sorry mt, but it’s remembering YOUR previous searches :-)(maybe)At least, when I type something in the same box, I get my own previous searches first, and then suggestions below (which are clearly labelled as such)

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