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Information Literacy Guide for Faculty: Frame: Searching as Strategic Exploration

Framework Defined

Searching as Strategic Exploration

  • Information searching is often nonlinear and iterative.
  • A combination of inquiry, discovery, and serendipity is required.
  • Searching requires evaluating of a broad range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding is developed.

Possible Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • find items in the catalog if given the author, title, or keywords and locate the item on the shelf.
  • identify keywords from a given topic and use appropriate search commands.
  • implement searches in a multipurpose database and on the web and understand the difference between web and database.
  • identify keywords and synonyms and construct a search strategy using appropriate commands for different interfaces.
  • determine if retrieved information satisfied need and will refine search if necessary.
  • construct a search strategy using Boolean and subject headings or database-specific thesaurus terms.
  • make connections between the importance of matching information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools.
  • implement more advanced searching skills to respond to a discipline-based information need
  • reflect on the usefulness of making mistakes in the search process and how searching is not solely transactional.
  • use discovery tool facets in order to find relevant information.
  • break down their research question in order to develop an effective database search.
  • develop a topic and a list of terms in order to search sources databases effectively, efficiently, with confidence
  • brainstorm and discover search terms in order to find information about their topic.
  • search discovery layer to find scholarly articles to complete an assignment.
  • demonstrate the use of indexes and advanced search techniques in order to retrieve relevant articles for their class project.
  • construct search terms and refine terms based on results to reduce frustration around information gathering.
  • break their search into core concepts and brainstorm additional steps for each concept.
  • apply search strategies using keywords to reduce research frustration.
  • identify and describe three boolean operators and their proper uses in order to conduct an effective first round search.
  • select an appropriate source/database in order to locate relevant content/sources of information for their topics
  • select an appropriate search tool based on discipline and task at hand.
  • condense or expand their search as necessary using search strings and facets.

Ideas to Incorporate into Classroom

  • Roundtable paired with concept mapping
  • Jigsaw to learn facets; regroup to find resources meeting different facet-based criteria on different topics (compiled in Google docs)
  • Brainstorm possible search  terms in pairs
  • Paraphrasing
  • Create a search strategy log using article database.  Start a search with the knowledge you have.  Identify 1 relevant article.  Locate new keywords and authors from citation abstract, subject terms.  Revise search and rerun search.  Continue.
  • Pass out different types of information sources and have students work in pairs to identify types and sources.  Have students introduce the source they analyzed.
  • Develop a concept map of topic, keywords, synonyms.
  • Ask students to choose a topic, develop key terms to search with, and use two different databases to locate information on their topic. Have them compare the results in terms of quantity, types of sources, order/sequence of results, and relevance. 
  • Assign students to identify and use subject headings after conducting a keyword search; after which they write a paragraph or have a class discussion on the differences between subject and keyword searching.

LibGuide Credit

The Framework content on this page and in this guiede was originally created by PALNI - the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana.  Adapted with permission.


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