4. Searching for Web Sites
Activity 4a: Read the following
Many kids and adults struggle to find Web sites and Internet sources that provide the information they are looking for. There are two main reasons they struggle:
1. Lack of understanding about how to use an Internet browser, e.g. Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc.
This is evidenced by an individual who types a keyword into the address bar of a browser or who uses spaces when typing a URL into the address bar. Teachers and parents can help kids by explaining the difference between a URL and a keyword, and by showing them the various "parts" of a browser such as the address bar, toolbar menu and/or icons, title bar, scroll bars and any other key features of the particular browser.
2. Lack of understanding about search engines and directories, e.g., Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. and how to use them effectively.
This is evidenced by an individual who types a URL into a search engine or who performs a search that yields information unrelated to their intended search.
In this unit, we will explore the second of these two topics and help you search more effectively.
Activity 4b: Explore various aspects of searching using search engines and directories
Learning about search engines and directories, and how to use them effectively can be overwhelming and very technical. It is not necessary to know everything about the subject, however, having a basic understanding is helpful in being able to conduct effective Internet searches.
Explore the following topics.
Web Directory vs. Search Engine
How Search Engines Work
Did you know that in many cases, the first page of search results are sponsored sites? Most people do not go past the first page of results, yet more valuable and objective information may be found on the following results pages!
Read more about how Google and other search engines work: Google and Beyond slides (for this section, just read through slides 1-16).
The following tips can help you improve the effectiveness of your search
- Identify good keywords based on the questions you want answers to
- Use Boolean logic in your search (this can be done through an "Advanced Search" option available with some search engines)
- Use "exact phrases"
- Check your spelling
- Try a case-sensitive search
- Think about synonyms for your keywords or other phrases that mean the same thing as your original search phrase
- Use more than one search engine or directory
- *** If your search doesn't provide a good result, go back and revise your search
Read some tips for using Google search (read the whole page): http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=134479
Activity 4c: Practice
Let's think again about the Martin Luther King Jr. example.
Using Google, I type "martin luther king" into the search bar. I get "About 168,000,000 results." *Search performed on Jan. 13, 2012.
Next, I enter "Martin Luther King Jr." - "About 40,600,000 results"
My next search is "Martin Luther King Jr. +impact +American +law." "About 1,560,000 results."
1,560,000 is still a massive amount of Internet resources, but hopefully by using key words in a boolean search, the search results will provide information that more accurately address my questions.
Your turn. Find section 4c on your student sheet. Using different search terms, phrases and/or search engines or directories, conduct several searches on a topic of your choice and record your results. (Similar to example above)
Activity 4d: Think about it
Refer back to the graphic organizer introduced in Section 2. How does an ineffective search influence a learner's need to refine the information he/she wants to locate?
Let's learn more about evaluating Web sites. Go to section 5.