Lesson 3: Using an Internet search engine

Grade Level: 7 - Adult

Background needed:

The student should know how to enter Netscape and type in URL's .

Objectives:

The student will use an internet search engine to find information about a specific topic.

Materials:

Access to the Internet and Netscape software.

Procedure:

Have students click on the Net Search button. Next they should scroll down to InfoSeek Search. This company will search for your topic on the Internet's WWW pages and give you it's 10 best sources free of charge. If you pay for their service, they will provide 200 articles that come from sources such as newsgroups, computer magazines, news wire services, and data bases. To get more information or sign up for this service, click on the highlighted InfoSeek Search.

To initiate a search, locate the white strip just under InfoSeek Search on the original location that the Net Search button furnished. In this space you should type words that describe the topic you are looking for. The fewer and more descriptive the words are, the faster and more accurately you can find information. There are a few techniques that can help a search.

If there is a helpful English phrase that will describe your topic, put it in quotes or put hyphens between the words. For example, if you wanted documents that explored the connection between math and science, you would type :

math-and-science or "math and science"

If you had typed:

math science or math and science,

you would have received articles just on math, just on science, and then on the combination of math and science ( the "and" was ignored because there were no quotes or hyphens.)

If you want information on the connection between two different people, use a comma between the names; as well as capitalize them. For example:

Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi

If you have tried a few words and there are no worthwhile results, use more words. The search however, will be slower. For more information on searching techniques, click on "special query operators" at the original location of Net Search.

A teacher will want to lead students through several searches to illustrate these techniques. Remember that no matter where you go in the Internet, you can still get back to this search engine by clicking on the Net Search button.

You will notice two other search engines below InfoSeek on the original location, Lycos and WebCrawler. By clicking on either of these, you can go to free search engines that are maintained by universities. These engines will furnish a tremendous number of locations for a given topic, but much of it may be useless because they employ a web crawler. This is a computer program that crawls automatically through the Internet, gathering every mention of a topic, no matter how trivial.

So an entry of

math science

would give among other things, lists of math courses at universities. The methods used to avoid this kind of problem are most easily presented after a student is throughly at ease with InfoSeek.

To learn how to search by catagories , refer to

Searching the Internet with an index