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Information Literacy Instructional Toolkit: Frame 6: Searching Effectively


"Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops" (ACRL, Searching as Strategic Exploration).


Relevant learning concepts:

  • What is the scope of the research question?
  • What questions would guide the information search?
  • What type(s) of information would be relevant?
  • Who might produce this information (e.g. scholars, organizations, governments)?

Source:  Bucknell University

Teaching Resources

Title: Pass the Problem
Description: Students provide feedback on each other's database selection and keywords.
Material Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Carolyn Caffrey Gardner
Added: 05/31/2017 By: Vicky Duncan
Frame(s): Engaging in the research process, Searching effectively


Title: Cut and Paste
Description:A database search strategy is printed out, and each line is printed on a separate slip of paper. Students "reconstruct" the search strategy in small groups.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Erin Watson
Added: 05/31/2017 By:
Frame(s): Searching effectively


Title: Searching Effectively - Using Tags & Controlled Vocabulary
Description: Working in pairs, students tag an article's abstract then retrieve the same article in a database and uncover the terms (keywords & subject headings) used to index the article.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Maha Kumaran, University of Saskatchewan
Added: 05/31/2017
Frame(s)Searching effectively


Title: Peer-review (introductory)
Description: Using research tools and indicators of authority to determine the credibility of sources. Learn how to peer review with an in-class activity and combine this activity with searching for scholarly articles in a general, multidisciplinary database.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Christina Heady & Joshua Vossler, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Added: 05/15/2017
Frame(s)Evaluating authorityParticipating in scholarly conversationsSearching effectively


Title: Searching is Strategic (Research 101)
Description: This video introduces library databases and the importance of using various search terms.
Resource Type: Video
Original Author(s): University of Washington Libraries
Added: 05/31/2017 By:
Frame(s)Searching effectively


Title: Science in the Media
Description: Small groups locate an article in the lay literature that reports scientific findings. Group must locate primary literature and comment on the accuracy of the lay article's portrayal.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Laura Massa
Added: 05/31/2017 By:
Frame(s)Evaluating authorityParticipating in scholarly conversationsSearching effectively


Title: Political Internet Literacy
Description: To help students find research articles about current events and politics; help them understand there are differences between articles written in general magazines, articles written in scholarly journals or for partisan political purposes, & help them understand the research process.
Resource Type: Lesson plan
Original Author(s): Jennifer Schwartz, DePaul University
Added: 05/15/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authorityUnderstanding the information lifecycleEngaging in the research processParticipating in scholarly conversationsSearching effectively