Strategic searching is one of the important skills built into the Information Literacy Curriculum. Modeling strategic search skills for students is a great way to help reinforce those search skills between research projects. If you are worried about trying this in front of students, please remember – watching you edit and improve an ineffective search strategy is as important a lesson as whatever topic you are presenting. If you are still feeling reticent, talk to me and I can help identify a library based database that would be a good fit for your search. For a guide, CommonSense Media uses the SEARCH Model to define the steps of strategic searching, and has a curriculum you can download. All of the steps are valuable, but the tips in “A” – apply search strategies – can get rusty when you don’t use them often. Here are a few helpful reminders:
Boolean Operators: These can be used searching online or in any of our school databases. When searching in Google, the word “NOT” is replaced by the minus sign (Washington -DC).
Phrase Searching: Use quotation marks around search terms with multiple words (“World Trade Organization” or “Thomas Aquinas”)
Advanced Searching/Limiters: Show students how to take advantage of any advanced searching options. You can find them on most of the search engines and they can be very helpful in limiting your results by certain categories (e.g. date or type of result).
If you are just searching online in Google, here is a helpful infographic that describes some of the ways you can customize your search: Download PDF Version