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Doing Research on the Web Creating a Search Strategy

Return To: Doing Research on the Web

Step 4: Identify Keywords

Review the questions, sources, and media elements you brainstormed in Steps 1–3, and circle the keywords. Your list of keywords might look something like the following:

Terms Possible Sources Possible Sources

  • volcanoes
  • volcanologists
  • erupt/eruptions
  • form
  • active volcanoes
  • inactive volcanoes
  • famous volcanoes
  • predict
  • dangers

  • FEMA
  • National Park Service
  • museums
  • National Geographic
  • PBS or NOVA

  • video
  • 3-D animations
  • maps
  • photographs
  • audio

Step 5: Ready . . . Set . . . Search!

You're finally ready to choose a tool(s) and begin your search. Depending on the time you have and your own personal preference, you can start with a search engine, directory, or a specific site of your own choice. Here are three possible ways you might begin:

Using a Directory Let's say that you're interested in getting a general idea of the information available on volcanoes and that your time is somewhat limited. In this case, you might visit one or more directories to get an idea of the kinds of links available for your topic.

Using a Search Engine If you are looking for very specific information, you might want to start with a search engine. Use the keywords you identified in Step 4 to develop your search query. The trick is to try several combinations of keywords, using terms from all three columns in your keyword chart. Possible keyword combinations include: volcanoes and dangers; volcanoes and photographs and erupt; volcanoes and National Park Service; and volcanoes and predict and eruption. Visit Refining Your Search for more tips.

Using Bookmarked Sites If, somewhere throughout your Web travels, you've bookmarked a reliable science Web site or one focusing specifically on volcanoes, try starting there. Explore its information and (if possible) visit the other sites it links to.

Remember—there's no one right way to conduct research on the Web. Just be sure to start with a strategy and experiment with different search tools to get the best results.

Next: Refining Your Search