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It's a Jungle
The First Search
The Road Narrows
Specificity Counts
Approaching the Bull's-Eye
A Few Notes and...

Since you will be using search terms to locate interesting Web pages, the first step is to create a list of terms associated with your topic. This will save you time and make your search more efficient. You may add to your list while conducting a search; new ideas will surface as you visit different sites. As mentioned, for this tutorial, we will provide you with search terms.

Start Your Search Engine

For this search, let's assume that we're science teachers looking for information on the Web that deals with the surface tension of water caused by the polarity of molecules. Most specifically we're interested in the phenomenon of the curvature formed at the surface caused by that polarity. How can you communicate all that to a search engine? Let's start by picking out the search terms surface and tension.

1. Click on the empty field next to the Search button on the search engine page and type in surface tension.

2. Click on the Search button or press the Enter key on your keyboard. Wait...the search engine is now combing its database for Web pages that contain identifying words that match the ones you entered.

3. Examine your search results page; there are a number of important items to note:
  • Locate the phrase Web Results. Listed beneath this are the top 10 matches for Web pages that contain the words surface and tension in any sequence with and without words in between. If you click on the word Next and view the second group of results, the words Web Results will be immediately followed by a number indicating the total number of results. Click on your browser's Back button to return to the first page of the search.

  • As you scroll down the page, you will see the titles, brief descriptions, and URLs that were returned to you. The titles of these results are hyperlinks; you can click on them to go directly to Web pages.

  • 4. Take a look at some of your results from this first search; how accurate was the search engine in providing you with relevant pages? Skim the titles and follow some links to view these pages. (Use the browser's Back button to return to your search results page). Note that in addition to pages related to surface tension you also got unrelated pages, perhaps referring to the surface of the moon or racial tension.
    image   So, what do we do to make our search more accurate and manageable?

    Continue the tutorial: The Road Narrows  
    Continue the Tutorial

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