Searching versus Research

Many patrons want skills for finding factual information quickly. Instructors who keep this in mind will give them basic searching skills without overloading them with information they do not want.

Searching Research
BulletUses one or more databases, search engines, or meta search sites

BulletLimits scope of information to that available electronically

BulletCommands software to seek out and retrieve data

BulletFaster than conducting research

BulletMay lack completeness (the big picture, analogies, related information)

BulletServes select information needs (fact-finding, locating known items)

BulletApplies a variety of techniques:
  • Consulting finding aids (e.g., catalogs, indexes, research guides, known works, bibliographies, subject directories)
  • Searching databases, search engines, or meta search sites
  • Browsing
  • Asking colleagues, friends, experts, or other people resources

BulletOften requires consulting information available in various formats (e.g., online databases, print, Web pages, CD-ROM, microforms) 

BulletSystematic, diligent, creative, thorough


BulletUses newly discovered information to focus or re-define the research

BulletServes all information needs (fact-finding, locating known items, topical, investigative)

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This chart appears in Teaching Internet Research Skills, a teaching Web of The Virtual Chase at URL