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Testing search terms on google

by on August 13, 2011

We are currently testing search terms to use during our pilot study.  Here are some findings from an initial test on google today:

Search for the term “age discrimination” produced 3 mill hits worldwide and 500k in the UK.  Google offers the pop up suggestions: age discrimination act, during the recruitment process, law, cases and results include a mix of specific websites and news stories.

Search for the term “ageist culture” produced far fewer results (1000 in the UK), mainly news stories though interestingly google offers “jokes, comments, sayings” as pop up suggestions may be indicating this term ties in with informal converstations.

The term “older worker” produced 2 million results from UK and 22 million worldwide, primarily a mix of news stories.  In the UK search the news stories on the first few pages were predominately from the BBC, Telegraph and Guardian.  Google’s pop up suggestions were particularly unhelpful for the term older including: women dating (!) mothers, people, but for older worker included: employment, in Europe in
a sustainable society.

The term “NEET” (used to denote Not in Employment, Education or Training) produced I million hits in UK with a lot of coverage in newsites though this time the Dailymail appears before the Guardian with the BBC also present.

The term “apprenticeships” produced huge number of results but these were generally for vacancies though google alerts focus on news and blogs may produce more interesting results for the study.

Interestingly “youth employment” produced 1.5 mill hits in UK where as “youth unemployment” produced only .5 million hits where as I had expected it to be the other way around.  However when we look at “older worker unemployment” produced 3.5 million hits in UK
(including only ones so far for scholarly articles) while “older worker employment” gave 400,000 hits in an interesting reversal of the ‘youth’ search.  Other useful related search terms to “older worker” that could be tested include:  “later life worker” “mature worker”.

Searching the term “age diversity” produces more specific policy  statements by public and private organizations usually as posted on company websites.  Thismay therefore not work as effectively in google alerts but will still be included in the pilot.  The terms “age barriers workplace” produced a million hits though “age management” brings up too many health related hits (including cosmetic surgery) to be useful.

Similarly the term “Pension” results mainly in ‘looking for a pension’ sites and is too generic where as  “pension crisis” seems to give better results.

Searches for specific generational titles (millenials, baby boomers) are useful when searched in conjuction with “work” but “generation” and “work” picks up a good range of labels for generations and may therefore be more useful in google alerts.   The search term “intergenerational” brings half a million results which mainly seem to be local authority and other policymakers, with few news stories as yet.

The next stage in preparation for the pilot is to refine and develop this list of initial search terms and set up the various alerts.

 

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