My husband often complains about how he can never find anything on the Internet. Even though I tend to think that it's largely lack of interest and/or perseverance on his part, he does have a point. If you are looking for information online, a plain-vanilla search can yield so many results or such irrelevant hits that it's completely useless.
Google (http://www.google.com) is my favorite search engine. It's fast and often surprisingly good at returning relevant results. But unlike a lot of people, I don't just use the main page. If you dig a little deeper, you can perform really detailed searches. The trick is to use the Advanced Search page. The link to Advanced Search is to the right of the main search box in sort of tiny type, so it's easy to miss (or you can go directly to it: http://www.google.com/advanced_search)
From this page, you can narrow down your search in a number of ways without adding any special codes like quotation marks or query operators like OR or NOT. In the Advanced Search page, you can do the same thing by typing your search terms into the various Find Results boxes.
Another way to narrow down searches is by telling Google where you want it to look for your search terms with the "Return results where my terms occur" drop-down box. The default is anywhere, but you also can select from title, URL, text, or links to the page. If you are trying to research only recent information, you can tell Google to only search among pages that have been updated recently (in the last 3 months, 6 months, or a year).
Of course, all of these options and more are accessible using various codes as well, which are explained in the Google help. But the Advanced Search page is a great start for those who don't find reading about Boolean search logic fascinating.