While others may disagree, I believe that using longer search terms for the Google search engine leads to more relevant search results. Thus, I favor an iterative search strategy that starts with two-keyword searches and progressing toward more-keyword searches until the exact information being sought is found.
The research part is closely integrated with the search portion in the sense that as you are searching, you are learning more and more about the topic of your search and consequently more able to specify more accurately the information that you are looking for. Hence, you start with a short search term and end up with a longer one that more precisely describes what you are interested in. The process is iterative in that what you learn from reading a few articles are then subsequently included in the next search that you are going to make.
Suppose I'm interested on how I could setup Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) in my DLink DIR-300 wireless router. I could use the search term setup dhcp dlink dir-300 wireless and find exactly what I'm looking for. But that's because I already know how to do it and I already know of one particular article that I'm sure will appear on the first page of the search results. But how do I go about finding that particular article if I don't even know what DHCP is all about?
I would probably start searching with a single term DHCP and see what information I could find. Reading a few of the articles that appear in the search results would give me an idea of what DHCP is all about. Then I might do another search using the term dlink dir-300 and see what information I could get. I might find the DIR-300 Wireless Router Manual and browse on the contents of the manual for any information about DHCP. What I will get is a picture of the DLink DIR-300 router configuration page and a terse instruction on how DHCP is setup on the router. Now I have a new search term and I try the search term dlink dir-300 dhcp settings and see what comes up. On the search results I find an article on how dhcp is setup on the DLink DIR-300 wireless router and my search is now ended.
In my experience searching with Google, I realize that the more I know of the topic of my inquiry, the longer my search term gets. This is because intuitively I know of other information regarding this topic and I don't want information that are irrelevant and won't help me. Therefore, I more precisely specify what I'm looking for and normally find the particular information that I need. It would take me a longer time to find the right information if I start with a shorter term and I could probably get lost in the process.
When you feel that you're beginning to get lost, it could be that the next term of terms that you added were not the right ones so you have to go back one step and read a few more articles on that stage and try to find new terms that would hopefully lead you to the information you're looking for. Remember that a good search strategy involves and integrates research into the topic you're interested in. It's a learning process designed to more accurately specify the information that you're looking for.
The world has become ever more complicated with the fast pace of new technological developments. There are more choices and better alternatives that are coming up as time passes. Short search terms will lead you nowhere if you're on the lookout for specific data that you need for solving a particular problem. The use of longer search term would hopefully lead you to the correct information that is relevant to the challenge that you're facing at the moment.
The coming of the Internet has brought about the ready availability of vast amount of information to the ordinary people. More and more data are being added to this reservoir of knowledge everyday and there is no sign that the generation of new information is abating. Consequently, we must be prepared to use longer terms in our searches if we are to find the right information that we need immediately. In situations when we are not yet fully familiar with the topic we are searching on, we could start with a shorter term and progressively use a longer search term as we know more about the subject we are searching on.