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iEngage Civics Institute: Search

Search Strategies Activity (About 15 mins)

In this activity, you will learn and practice five different strategies for searching and finding information (which, by the way, can also be used when you search Google). 

Use the search engine DuckDuckGo to practice using the strategies listed below. Follow the directions in each strategy's box. Be sure to write down the names of sources and authors of any sources that you think might be great for your projects.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Which strategy or combination of strategies helped you find the best information? Why?
  2. Which types of sources (like websites, pictures or images, infographics, videos, news articles...) provided the best information for your project? Why?

Strategy 1: Use different words for searching

  1. Type in one of your questions. Ex: Why do people ban books
  2. Re-do your search using just the main idea of your question. Ex: Banned Books
  3. How are your results different?

Strategy 2: Use quotation marks

  1. Using the question you used previously, put it in quotation marks. Ex: “why do people ban books”
  2. How does this change your results?

Strategy 3: Use additional limiters

  1. Use the options on the top to find images, news articles, and videos.

  2. Which of these types of sources provide the most relevant information for your topic?

Strategy 4: Use additional limiters, like where or when information was produced

  1. Use one of the searches above. Then switch the button on for “US (English).”

  2. Change the date option from “any time” to “past year.”

  3. How do these settings change your results?

  4. Why do you think changing the date range on your search might be important?

Strategy 5: Search a specific domain (like .org, .edu, or .gov)

  1. Think about WHO might be producing the information you need. Is it educational institutions? City websites? Organizations? What domains do these groups use (.com, .org, .gov, .edu)?

  2. Using one of your searches above, add the following to your search:

  3. Also try changing the site to .org, .com, and/or .gov

  4. How does this change your results?

  5. You can also use this strategy to search just a particular website. Ex: