Resources Missy-Ga Uses to Answer Questions

What are the best resources for Google Researchers?

In particular, I've been very impressed with the level of detail that

missy-ga provides, and it seems that she comes up with the answers

relatively quickly. What are the main resources missy uses? Does she

work out of a library?

I'm looking for resources in addition to search engine sites (like

Google itself), but pointers to the best way to use those sites would

be great!

Also, what is the methodology that missy uses to make sure her answers

are so detailed? I'm looking for a more step-by-step process that

missy uses when faced with a question she might not know a lot about.



One thought on “Resources Missy-Ga Uses to Answer Questions

  1. Hi David!

    I was dismayed to see a little while ago that someone else had locked

    this question, leading me to believe I might have an impersonator!

    First, let me say that your question just made my day! What a

    wonderful thing to see such high praise right out here in front of

    everybody! I'm deeply flattered. Thank you so much.

    Now to answer your question…

    No, I don't work from a library. I'm a stay at home mother of two

    boys, perched on a comfy purple chair, at my (disaster-strewn) desk in

    the back bedroom of my apartment. My "office" consists of a light

    wood desk, covered with Final Fantasy figures (a guilty pleasure),

    pictures of people dear to me, little trinkets given to me by friends,

    a pile of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" books, a box of chocolates, a cup

    of coffee, and a cute stuffed tiger cub named Snowflake perched upon

    my monitor (a cherished gift from my best friend).

    What resources do I use? Would it surprise you to learn that I use

    Google almost exclusively as my search engine? Long before I ever

    knew about the Answers program, questions posed to me at home were

    aswered with "Have you Googled it yet?" It's my favorite engine

    because it's fast and complete. I occasionally use Blowsearch [ ] to query a bunch of search engines at

    once, but I'm usually happier with just Google. I especially like the

    advanced search techniques, which are the best and coolest way to find

    what you need. Those are explained here:

    [ :// ]

    I also use the telephone quite a bit. If I'm interested in a

    question, but I'm not sure where to start looking for information,

    I'll pick up the phone and call a friend who would know where to go.

    The phone also comes in handy if the client needs a clarification that

    just cannot be found on the web:

    [ ]

    …and I've also been known to spend a little time on the phone to

    confirm research I've already done:

    [ ]

    My other resources come primarily from my life experiences. I've

    always been fascinated by books and research materials, and worked as

    a student librarian for three years in high school. My Senior year, I

    left the US to live in Germany with AFS and the Congress Bundestag

    Youth Exchange Scholarship program, returning to enroll at the local

    University (I don't think I'm permitted to name it here) as a dual

    major German/Secondary Education. In spite of steadily working –

    sometimes two jobs at once! – through school, finances didn't permit

    "on time" graduation – I'm still about a year away from my bachelor's,

    but likely will not return to University studies any time soon. (I

    sort of have my hands full! ;))

    I've held jobs in retail, restaurant, clerical, and even construction

    (volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity house when I was 20), so I

    have a wide range of experiences to draw from that help greatly in my

    research. I teach Internet classes at my children's school each week,

    and volunteer often for new projects. I learn a great deal about

    virtually any topic just talking to the people I volunteer with.

    My hobbies don't hurt, either. Although I don't drive, I listen to

    Car Talk on NPR with an almost religious fervor. I just adore Tom and

    Ray, and I've learned enough about cars from them that I don't panic

    or fret when something goes awry with our family vehicle – I just look

    up the problem on their web page!

    I'm very much a Usenet Junkie. Do you have any idea how much

    interesting stuff there is *just* on Usenet? I read and post to

    several sci-fi/fantasy related groups, but also voraciously read about

    half a dozen others, including news.groups and several net-tech

    related forums. Just because I'm curious. You can find tons of

    information about nearly everything just searching Usenet:

    [ :// ]

    I'm also a seasoned cook, and spend a great deal of time prowling the

    'Net for new recipes. I nearly always stumble across something else

    interesting while I'm at it. This has led to great fun at dinner

    parties. 😉

    I try to approach all of the questions I research with a sense of

    curiosity – wanting to know more about the question myself helps me

    approach the search from several angles. I recall from my days as a

    student librarian and as an education student that detail in research

    is very important, so I try to include as much information as

    possible, without putting in so much that the reader is confused. If

    my write up is over my head, it's not going to do the client any good


    The best advice I can give you is to be curious about the questions

    you're researching. OK, sure, some of those with $50 price tags on

    them look appealing, but how likely are you to find the answers and be

    able to write them up in some detail if you don't really care about

    the subject you're researching?

    – Don't choose your questions based solely on the bid price.

    – Think about other things associated with the topic when you research

    – sometimes looking for an associated term or topic will give you a

    back door into information you couldn't find using the obvious search


    – Personal experience matters! Have you dealt with a similar topic

    before? Cite it, but do try to back it up with similar examples from

    the 'Net.

    – USE YOUR PHONE! *Everybody* you know knows something you don't.

    Ask your friends, ask your family. Use their answers to refine your


    – Use several search windows at once. I have Mozilla opened to 4

    windows at a time, with different search terms in each. It's faster,

    and easier to skim to find what you need.

    – If you find a nifty resource page BOOKMARK IT! And label, label,

    label! I have all of my resource pages divided into subfolders, each

    labeled clearly – Art, Cooking, Tech, Search Engines, Car Junk,

    Journals, Discussion Groups – and each bookmark in each folder has a

    specific label as well.

    -Read! No, really! Read everything you can lay hands on.

    Most importantly, BE CURIOUS! Did you know that until I started

    researching for Google, I had no idea what a "labial frenulum" was? I

    didn't. I'll bet you don't either! But the question title really

    intrigued me, so I researched it. I found one obscure page with words

    I didn't understand, so I researched those words, too, and finally

    came up with an answer. I am now waiting for the day I can use the

    answer to finally win a game of Trivial Pursuit:

    [ ]

    (That's the best I can give you for "step by step". I don't really

    have a particular method – if something comes up in my search that I

    don't understand, I search on that too until I get what I need. A

    strong sense of "What *is* that?" really comes in handy.)

    And now I see, David, that I've carried on like a giddy school girl,

    the kids are home from school, and it's time to get the place in order

    for a weekend guest and a visit to the theater tonight!

    I hope you find the answers helpful, or at least entertaining! Have a

    terrific day!


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