Just happened across the LJ community called little_details, which provides a place for writers to ask questions to help make your stories more accurate.
Before you post, be sure to read the rules.
Whether or not you're doing research, you may be interested in one particular entry from that community, a librarian posting about search engine tips. A bunch of good advice on effective use of search engines. As always, I also recommend reading Google's advanced search tips page, and/or using Google's advanced search page.
I'm pretty sure that various of y'all have posted entries at various times giving other useful tips on searching, but I don't have time to go track those down. Feel free to post links to such pages as comments on this entry (on my journal site, please, rather than on LJ).