INFOhio Central
Information, Media and Technological Literacy, Communication, Arts and Communication, English Language Arts, Writing, Writing for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
Material Type:
Lesson, Module
High School
9, 10, 11, 12
  • Information Literacy
  • Inquiry
  • Inquiry Skills
  • Locating Information
  • Research
  • Research Process
  • Research Skills
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML, Video

    Apply Effective Search Strategies

    Apply Effective Search Strategies


    Students will apply effective search strategies to locate information on the internet and within databases. 


    You develop search strategies whenever you have an information need. For instance, if you are about to purchase a new cell phone, you will need to know how to find information on all types of cell phones. You don't want information about the history of cell phones, or how to use them safely when driving, but you would need information on battery life, storage space, and camera quality. 

    When looking for your own information need or for an assignment, you want to find the information you need quickly. Remember to plan your search strategy. A little planning will save you time. Now let's look at your research assignment.


    Use Templates to Reflect and Make Adjustments

    Teacher Tip

    Read Michael Paul's 3 Ways to Reflect with Purpose from Edutopia. Consider asking your students how they thought the lessons from Unit 2 went. You'll be modeling an important part of the inquiry process and you might get some valuable feedback too! 

    Reflecting should take place throughout the inquiry process. When you are researching, take time to reflect on your assignment, your research questions, your keywords, and the strategies you selected to locate information. Make adjustments as needed. Before you begin locating information for your research project, answer these questions.

    • What is required?
    • How many sources do I need?
    • What types of sources do I need? 

    targetRead the description for each graphic organizer using the chart below. Then, select a graphic organizer located in the Attached Resources section. Use the graphic organizer you select to help you develop keywords and strategies for locating information during your research or project.


    KWL Finding Chart*

    Preparing Your Search Strategy: Identify Key Concepts 

    Search Tracking Form

    Use the KWL Finding Chart to reflect on your topic and generate a list of keywords. Use these keywords to locate information in databases and on the web. 



    Write your topic at the top of the Preparing Your Search Strategy: Identify Key Concepts chart. Circle keywords from your topic. Use the chart to help you brainstorm additional keywords and keyword search combinations to use when doing a keyword search in a database or on the web. Chart the success rate of your keywords in the Search Tracking Form. As you conduct each search, reflect on the results. Explore options for combining new search terms to get better search results. 

    * Log in to your Google account to make a copy of the KWL Finding Chart

    Use INFOhio Resources to Search for Information

    Different search strategies and keywords will produce different results when searching a database vs an internet search vs an encyclopedia. 

    targetContinue to use different search strategies to locate information using INFOhio's ISearch. Record your results on the Search Tracking Form. Then branch out to other research tools including search engines (Google) and/or other INFOhio resources (World Book Advanced, Explora for Grades 9-12



    Test Your Knowledge

    Teacher Tip

    Assess your students' research skills using the Locating Information Using Effective Search Strategies quiz. Copy and paste quiz questions from the Google Doc to a Google Form or your choice of assessment platform. An answer key is available

    Find additional assessment questions in TRAILS Archive - Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills located in INFOhio's Open Space. 

    You have learned how to perform a keyword search in a search engine and database. You have practiced brainstorming and generating search terms. Test your knowledge with the Locate Information Using Effective Search Strategies quiz linked below. An answer key is available in the Instructor Notes.