Navigation and Research

Scenario

Goals

A Place to Start

Learning Activities

 Additional Resources

Scenario

As the Micronesian sailors explored neighboring islands, they developed predictable reference points to guide their voyages. Locating relevant appropriate information is an essential skill for lifelong learners in the Information Age. Internet explorers will discover predictable reference
points: favorite search engines and reliable lists of educational sites suitable for use in the classroom. Navigation and research skills empower students to learn from the experiences of others, answer burning questions, and develop effective online search strategies to locate information.

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Goals

  • Phrase a question in terms which can be efficiently and effectively researched on the world wide web.
  • Refine the inquiry statement using graphic organizers.
  • Develop search strategies for locating multiple authoritative sources to answer a question.
  • Identify the distinctive features of several search engines and at least one meta-search engine by     comparing the results from a search of the same complex topic in each.

A Place to Start

Review the Information Literacy Standards [from the revision of Information Power, a joint project of AASL and AECT] to discover the philosophical context which frames Internet instruction in schools.

Preview net navigation skills by exploring the Online Internet Institute's Searching the 'Net.

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Learning Activities

  • ExamineThe Big Six Skills © Information Problem-Solving Approach to Library and Information Skills Instruction, as a method of synthesis. (Eisenberg & Berkowitz)
  • Phrasing a question so that it can be efficiently and effectively researched on the Internet is a skill which takes practice. Students need to think about selecting topics which are neither too broad nor too narrow to  satisfy the assignment. Practice using graphic organizers to refine your inquiry statement.
  • Often a simple keyword search will elicit unexpected results; another strategy to improve the efficiency of your search is to use synonyms and truncated forms of words.
  • Learn how to use Boolean Logic to retrieve information which more precisely matches your research needs.
  • One way to learn about the particular characteristics of any search engine is to read its "help" screens. Read AltaVista's help page for simple searching.
  • Since different methods are used to build search engine indexes, it is important to note that different search engines will give you different results. Acquaint yourself with several different search engines for more in-depth research much as you would look in several books of a library's reference section to research any topic for applicable information. Compare different methods of searching the Internet: try   

                 1) searching by subject in Social Issues Resources and Yahoo; 
                 2) searching by keyword in Lycos and Infoseek;
                 3) using a multithreaded search engine: Metacrawler.

  • Engage students in authentic research by posing fundamental questions that cut across disciplines, do not have prescribed answers, and involve students in compelling work that matters to them. Look at NASA's Classroom of the Future Modules for examples of problem-based learning.

Additional Resources

Search Engine Watch - Everything you ever wanted to know about search engines..

Successful Web Search Strategies - Kathy Schrock's NECC'98 presentation

Research and Critical Thinking is a massively detailed site with sections on research skills and tools, search tools, and critical thinking on the web.

Info Zone: Research Skills at the Assiniboine South School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is designed to be used by students.

Using Search Engines and Indices at Southern Regional High School, N.J., also guides student research

Electronic Styles: Automate the process of citing Internet sources in a bibliography. 

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Last updated 3/21/06