Welcome to INTERNET SEARCH STRATEGIES: The Information Treasure Hunt, a video designed to help you learn the most effective ways of searching the Internet. My name is Angela Bates and I’ll be your librarian instructor today. I have tons of tips and strategies to help you make the most of online research, so stick around and we’ll learn the tools for finding treasure information on the web.
We’ll start at the beginning where every good hunt begins and gather a little information about our treasure hunter. How good are you at finding information on the Internet?
Do you know how to identify keywords for searching?
Ever heard of a Boolean operator? (Here’s a secret tip...you’ve not only heard of them, you use them every day in a different way.) Curious? Keep watching...
Now...what if your teacher asked you to look up a topic online for information to use in a research report? Would you know where to start or the best ways to narrow your search and find the most useful results?
After watching this presentation you will... Because we’re going to learn the best search strategies to help us find information online! So let’s get started!
Where do I start?Well, we need an example. Let’s say that your teacher has asked you to do a research project on monkeys. She wants you to tell her all about the loudest type of monkey and where they live. Where might you start?
What’s the first thing you need to know before you start any hunt? You have to know WHAT you’re looking for... or, the PURPOSE of your search. Are you looking for pictures? Video? Information? What KIND of information are you looking for?
So step one is: Define your purpose. Our purpose is to find information about the loudest type of monkey. We’ll want to know the name of this type of monkey and some things about the monkey like maybe where it lives. Now that we know our purpose, what is our next step in hunting for information on the Internet?
Finding a reliable search engine is step two in our search. You’ve probably heard of most if not all of these search engines. While they are not the same, they will all lead you to a lot of the same or similar information. But the key - or treasure map - that will lead us to the BEST results is in the WAY we search. So pick a search engine and let’s get started!
For our first search today, we’re going to use KidsClick! because it’s easy to use and kid friendly! But remember, the key to our hunt is in the WAY we search. These search strategies will work on any search engine to help you find the information you need.
Now...before we start our search we need to do a little more investigation. We need to narrow down what we’re looking for by identifying some keywords. That’s step 3 in our hunt.
You might be wondering what keywords are. Keywords are words that describe what you are looking for. Just like in this picture, if your subject is a purple Sharpie pen and you need to find information from the Internet about purple Sharpie markers, you might use descriptive keywords like ‘pen’, ‘Sharpie’, ‘marker’, and ‘purple’. To find good keywords, think about your purpose, or the question you are trying to find the answer for, and pick out the most important words that describe that subject.
Our purpose is to find the name of the loudest type of monkey and where they live. What is the most important word from this question that we can look for in our web search?
‘Monkey’ seem like a good place to start. Let’s try that and see what we find...
We’ll click over to KidsClick and type in our keyword: ‘monkey’ in the yellow box marked keyword search. Then just select ‘GO’ to see what we find...
When we just look for the term ‘monkey’, we get 9 separate results or links to information about monkeys. That’s not bad, but maybe there’s a way we can narrow that search down a little and get fewer, but more specific results. Can you think of a way we might be able to do that while searching for the loudest type of monkey and where it lives? Maybe we can add another keyword to get better results.
Can you identify another keyword from our question?
What about ‘loudest’?
So this time we are searching for TWO keywords. Since we want our results to show BOTH words, what can we add to the search to tell our search engine that we only want to see results that contain both terms?
That would be Step #4: use Boolean operators! These are the things I told you that you use every day in a different way. Boolean operators are connector words (and, or, not) that tell your search engine how you want it to search for your keywords. In our example, we can use the Boolean operator ‘AND’ to tell KidsClick that we want it to search for ‘monkey’ AND ‘loudest’ so that it only give us results that contain both keywords. Let’s try that and see what happens.
Type ‘monkey’ AND ‘loudest’ in the yellow keyword search box, then select ‘GO’.
Now we’re down to two results...both about a monkey called the “Howler Monkey”. We can see from the description below our first link that Howler Monkeys are not only the loudest monkey, but also the loudest land animal. Let’s click that first link and see what other information we find...
This webpage gives us lots of informational clues we need to finish our treasure hunt. First of all, it tells us that the loudest monkey is the Howler Monkey. If we read the information here, we also learn that Howler Monkeys lives high in the tree canopies of the rainforests in Latin America. There is also information on their anatomy, their diet, and what kinds of animals they need to watch out for – their predators. There is also an illustration that shows the physical features of the Howler Monkey.
So... we found our treasure using keywords and Boolean operators.
But does that work with any search engine, you ask? Yes. You can perform keyword searches with Boolean operators on any Internet search engine to help you narrow your search and get the best results. I’ll show you that same search we just conducted on KidsClick, using Google. The results will likely be different, but we will still be able to find the information we need using the exact same search strategies.
We started our search just using one keyword, remember? We searched for ‘monkey’. On Google, a search for the keyword ‘monkey’ gets us more than 353 million results, or links to information. That’s an awful lot to have to look through to find exactly what we need.
So... let’s do what we did on KidsClick and add a second keyword ‘loudest’ and tell Google by using the Boolean operator ‘AND’ that we only want to see results that contain both the words ‘monkey’ AND ‘loudest’. This search not only gets fewer results, it also gets more relevant results. If you look at the top result we found using this search strategy, it is a link to Fun Facts about Howler Monkeys from the National Zoo. The description below the link tells us that not only are Howler Monkeys the loudest monkey, they are also the loudest animal. Let’s click on that link and see what else we find.
From this website, hosted by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, we learn that not only are Howler Monkeys the loudest monkey, they are also the loudest animal in the world. We’re told that they live in the Latin American rainforest, range in size from 2 to 4 feet tall and weigh anywhere from 8 to 28 pounds. We also find that male Howler Monkeys use their big voices to defend their turf and intimidate predators. From this page you can also click on links to the left that offer fun facts and videos of Howler Monkeys.
So, as you can see from these two treasure hunt web searches to find the loudest breed of monkey, the strategies we use to conduct our searches greatly affect the results or information we find. We’ve learned that taking the time to thoughtfully determine keywords relevant to the information you are trying to find eliminates a lot of needless and time consuming looking. And we learned a little about Boolean operators – those connecting words that help search engines to further filter the information it returns. Using simple terms like ‘and’, ‘or’, and ‘not’ makes a huge difference!
Now, before we finish, let’s review the steps to successful strategic Internet searching: Step #1: Define your purpose. Know exactly what you are looking for and what type information you need.
Step #2: Find a reliable search engine. Once you practice your web searching you’ll find that you may like one search engine better than another. Search engines offer a lot of variety with narrowing search results. Some offer category or subject narrowing that lets you search within a specific category. Some search engines are designed to be used for specific reasons. KidsClick, for example, is a child-friendly filtered search engine that was actually designed by a librarian to be used for student research. Using search engines like KidsClick can make weeding through the results to find information that is valid much simpler than using mega search engines like Google. Being able to identify trustworthy websites is covered in another video on the library’s Computer Literacy LibGuide page. It’s all about website evaluation, which is very important to web-based research, so make sure to check that video out, too!
Step #3 to successful web searching is keywords. Know what information you are looking for and look for descriptive keywords to help you search for the information.
And then Step #4: narrow that keyword search by using Boolean operators: ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’, and ‘near’. These connector words are the best way to tell your search engine exactly what kind of information you need. We’ve just touched on Boolean operators in this lesson, but there are almost limitless of ways to use them in searches to weed out and narrow your results. You’ll learn more about them as you learn more about online research.
Finally, Step #5: review the results you retrieve to answer your research question.
Now that you have all your tools, you’re ready to start your own Internet treasure hunt! Have fun... and don’t forget to stop by the Computer Literacy LibGuide for more videos, tips, and information about making your Internet research fun and effective! Thanks for spending time with me today. Happy searching!
Elementary Internet Search Strategies: The Information Treasure Hunt
The Information Treasure Hunt Carolina Elementary Media Center Tutorial Computer Literacy for Elementary Students LibGuide Librarian: Angela Bates
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to find the name of theloudest type of monkey and where they live.
Find the name of theloudest type of monkey and where they live.