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Exploratory Search


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This PowerPoint shows the advantages of using for a research project.

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Exploratory Search

  1. 1. Exploratory Search Lesson for Middle School By Mrs. Smith
  2. 2. <ul><li>Review: </li></ul><ul><li>You have received your assignment for life science. </li></ul><ul><li>You have selected your topic (i.e. pollution). </li></ul><ul><li>You must now explore for focus within your topic. </li></ul>Where will my search take me?
  3. 3. <ul><li>Steps of Exploration for Focus: </li></ul><ul><li>Read about your topic (both hard copy and online sources), find things that interest you. </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerate any feelings of confusion as you begin reading. </li></ul><ul><li>Know that confusion will go away as you learn more about your topic. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why do an Exploratory Search ? Focus helps you find an aspect of the topic that interests you. Example As I searched pollution , I discovered that I was less interested in the pollution problem and I was more interested in one solution … recycling. I had NO idea that I would focus on recycling when I first received my subject matter. My exploratory search was essential for my focus. You are filtering down your ideas and the information you gather.
  5. 5. <ul><li>Hunt for Descriptors </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptors describe a topic aspect. </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptors like subject headings lead to information in indexes. </li></ul><ul><li>Can use hard copy sources like dictionaries and encyclopedias and almanacs. </li></ul><ul><li>Can use online sources that have dictionaries and encyclopedias and almanacs. </li></ul>You are hunting -- bag that focused topic!
  6. 6. <ul><li>Example of an online source: </li></ul><ul><li> is an online reference source that gives you access to the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Encyclopedia </li></ul><ul><li>Dictionary </li></ul><ul><li>Atlas </li></ul><ul><li>Almanac </li></ul><ul><li>and more! </li></ul><ul><li>It is loaded with statistics, facts, and historical records. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Can I trust the sources in ? </li></ul><ul><li>Almanacs -- there are two sources, one is published by Time, Inc. and the other by Hyperion </li></ul><ul><li>Encyclopedia -- published by Columbia University Press (fourth oldest university press in the U.S.) </li></ul><ul><li>Dictionary -- based on Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary </li></ul><ul><li>Atlas -- includes 100’s of maps from Magellan Geographix and other sources. </li></ul>
  8. 8. I first look up pollution to make certain that I know the meaning and also to find terms that could help me to explore further. I write down air pollution as a possibility (or record my information in a Word document) .
  9. 9. Air pollution takes me to the UN Conference in June 1992 where 172 nations came together to discuss environmental concerns. I will copy and paste this into Word with a citation.
  10. 10. It also takes me to the “Toxic 100” -- this shows me some top air polluters. I could research a company’s side of the pollution story. I could also see if air polluters are the main problem when it comes to pollution. Top 5
  11. 11. I wondered if there is agreement on pollution ranking and type or if there is controversy concerning the worst pollution problems?
  12. 12. I also searched for more descriptors (in this case, synonyms) in the Thesaurus. I like the word contamination and may use it in further searches, so I wrote it down.
  13. 13. <ul><li>Remember … you are trying to define/focus your topic. </li></ul><ul><li>To do this, you must start writing things down (or record your information and questions in a Word document)! Here are some suggestions: </li></ul><ul><li>Write down what is new to you. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down synonyms. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down terms that you do not understand. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down definitions that you do not understand. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down any specific subjects that interest you. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down events related to your topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down controversies and opposing points of view. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Please note what the simple search will do when you enter a search term. But I desire a more focused search, so I clicked on the Encyclopedia tab and type in pollution . pollution Note: this will search the Almanacs, Dictionary AND Encyclopedia pollution This is only the encyclopedia
  15. 15. Here are my search results for pollution (more than 120 hits). There are many things that can be noted at this point (write them down), like terms or topics of interest.
  16. 16. The Almanac took me to Health & Science. From there I explored Environment & Nature.
  17. 17. Then I tried Environment which opened a lot more possibilities.
  18. 18. Under Facts about the Environment I find out that the U.S. ranks 28th in the world for the Environmental Performance Index and I could look into opposing viewpoints concerning the ways our country could improve its standing.
  19. 19. Under Environment in Turmoil I found locations of the most polluted places in the world. Are countries in agreement with pollution solutions?
  20. 20. Under Going Green , I find out that recycled resources are used in green buildings. I look this up next.
  21. 21. Earth Day gives me the name of a senator, Gaylord Nelson , who helped establish a special day, an event every April 22 that recognizes the concern that the U.S. has for the environment.
  22. 22. I did a little further research on Mr. Nelson who is definitely the creator of Earth Day.
  23. 23. To find more names related to your topic, look at bibliographies at the end of articles… and look at (science) biographies.
  24. 24. has combined the AND and OR searches that we normally do with Boolean Operators -- they rank the AND results first on the “hits” list (if the two words are together, they are at the top of the list) and these are followed by the OR results (articles that have one or the other term). What other ways can we search on this site? We could try pollution AND recyling but ….
  25. 25. also has other ways to limit your search, do not forget to also start browsing the categories on the left sidebar: I have circled my favorite one.
  26. 26. I then zeroed in on Science ….
  27. 27. From there, I went to Environment which then led me to Recycling . In between, I also checked out other areas of interest like Ecology and Pollution and I am storing information on my Word document. I see that my main interest is definitely recycling.
  28. 28. I started to find a lot of recycling information that I could really use for my report.
  29. 29. I could narrow my search even further if I wanted to do that.
  30. 30. This is only part of the article that I was led to … it spurred me on to find out more about recycling landfill waste -- can you see the focus developing?
  31. 31. This is the very end of the article where it gives more information to explore and also something very essential to my report … a citation for this article. Just click on it and paste into your Word document. Good idea!
  32. 32. This also tells me that the article from Fact Monster uses MLA style when citing, make certain that this is the style your teacher will accept. Note : there are online tools to convert to another style. Don’t drop the ball when it comes to citing!
  33. 33. Bottom line: An exploratory search will not only result in a better report, it will help you find the exact topic that will meet the class requirement as well as making the project much more interesting for you --- a WIN/ WIN situation! Make the right choice for your next report!
  34. 34. Citations &quot;Infoplease: Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, Biographies, Dictionary, Thesaurus. Free online reference, research & homework help. —; Infoplease: Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, Biographies, Dictionary, Thesaurus. Free online reference, research & homework help. — N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2010. <>. Kuhlthau, Carol Collier. Teaching the Library Research Process: 2nd Ed .. 2nd ed. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1994. Print.