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FDA Website Search Tips

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The Basics of FDA Search

To enter a query, just type in a few descriptive words and hit the 'enter' key or click on the Search button. Since Google only returns web pages that contain all the words in your query, refining or narrowing your search is as simple as adding more words to the search terms you have already entered. Your new query will return a smaller subset of the pages Google found for your original query.

Choosing Search Terms

For best results, it's important to choose your search terms wisely. Keep these tips in mind:

Automatic "and" Queries

By default, Google only returns pages that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include "and" between terms. Keep in mind that the order in which the terms are typed will affect the search results. To restrict a search further, just include more terms.

Automatic Exclusion of Common Words

Google ignores common words and characters such as "where" and "how", as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results. Google will indicate if a common word has been excluded by displaying details on the results page below the search box.

If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a "+" sign in front of it. (Be sure to include a space before the "+" sign.) The one exception to this is "the", which is so common it is not considered in searches.

Google searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for "breast cancer", "Breast Cancer", and "bReaSt CaNcEr" will all return the same results.

Word Variations (Stemming)

To provide the most accurate results, Google does not use "stemming" or support "wildcard" searches. In other words, Google searches for exactly the words that you enter in the search box. Searching for "consum" or "consum*" will not yield "consumer" or "consuming".

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