Familiarizing Yourself With Search Engines and Web Directories Worksheet

Research Writing: Research Process

Practice with this Search Engines and Web Directories Worksheet to see how well you can conduct internet searches to learn about a topic and to search for more specific information. By completing 10 exercises, you improve your ability to navigate the web to find the information needed for your research writing.
Familiarizing Yourself With Search Engines and Web Directories

Instructions

For the first seven exercises, follow the instruction in each individual exercise. For exercises #8 and #9, determine if the statement provided is true or false, and explain your answer. For the final exercise, answer the question to give your assessment.

  • Focus on a general topic that interests you. Bring up the three major search engines, each in a different browser (Yahoo!, Google, Bing). Using the exact same keyword(s), conduct a separate search on each.

  • Review the first page of results in each search engine. Do you notice any differences in the results that are returned for your search term across the different search engines? Explain your answer, and use examples.

  • Try to narrow the topic slightly from the topic for which you just conducted a search. Open up a web directory, and search/browse through the subcategories. Identify three narrowed topics within the same general topic

    Topic #1:

    Topic #2:

    Topic #3:

  • Follow links for topic #1 from exercise #3, and get into the specifics until you find a viable research paper topic. Write the narrowed topic in the below space.

  • Follow links for topic #2 from exercise #3, and get into the specifics until you find a viable research paper topic. Write the narrowed topic in the below space.

  • Follow links for topic #3 from exercise #3, and get into the specifics until you find a viable research paper topic. Write the narrowed topic in the below space.

  • Conduct a search in a metasearch engine on one of the topics from exercise #3. What do you notice about the results? Are they different from those obtained in a regular search engine? Explain your answer.

  • True or false: There is no need to learn Boolean operators for search engines. Explain your answer.

  • True or false: The primary benefit of web directories is that they allow you to get more specific as you search for a narrower topic. Explain your answer.

  • Do you think search engines, web directories or metasearch engines are the most useful for conducting research for a research paper? Explain your answer.