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Tips and tricks on searching log files?

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I've been asked a few times to give more info on an error message or a problem by looking through the log files to try to find some 'errors' or other. The problem is, I have NO idea what I'm looking for, or where I'm looking or how to find out what I MIGHT need to be looking for. 

Is there any documentation or pointers anywhere which might help me to find useful information please? For instance, how far back do the logs go (I've tried searching for errors logged yesterday afternoon, but I get no returns at all so I'm assuming that they get 'wiped' after a set amount of time).


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@Paul Alexander who asked you for this? :) ... The logs are not entirely friendly (so to speak) and unless one is familiar on how the architecture works (APIs, flowcodes, threads, API synchronous execution, etc...), it would be well..not exactly easy to find things in there... You have a success plan, let us search what you need to find! ;) 

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