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Peer Review

How to Use a Search Engine

by Corinne Hoisington


Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 2 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Jul 27, 2007 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This brief tutorial provides a brief overview of how to use search engines, and website evaluation.
Learning Goals: Learning goals include: understanding the differences between search engines, how boolean operators work, and how to evaluate the credibility of websites.
Target Student Population: The target student population is any student who lacks an understanding of search engines.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.
Type of Material: The website provides a video module (approximately 3 1/2 minutes), search engine references, a PhotoStory presentation about different search engine strenghs, and search engine hands-on activities.
Recommended Uses: Most students today understand the basics of how search engines work. As such, this module can be assigned to students who just need a refresher on search engines.
Technical Requirements: Users must install Active-X in order to view the online video. Students also need PowerPoint or a PowerPoint reader to view the slides.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: This module provides information in various formats (e.g., video, slides, exercises) in order to reach students who learn by different means (e.g., visual, audio, and kinesthetic. The module is short, to-the-point, and efficient.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 2 stars
Strengths: The website provides a quick overview of searching on-line and sets forth a list of evaluation criteria that may be beneficial to students prior to starting a research project. Instructors may want to list this website within the instructions for a project as a reference. For students with little or no background about search engines, this module would be very effective.
Concerns: Because many students today (including elementary students) know how to use search engines, the module may not be of great value. Overall, the potential effectiveness of this material is a function of the student's prior knowledge of and experience with search engines.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The various parts of the module were presented in an organized fashion. The website was uncluttered and the navigation was clear. Easy to understand.
Concerns: The video took a little while to load on a high speed internet connection.

Other Issues and Comments: Consider adding information about advanced searching techniques []. Also note that search engines all behave very differently. For example, the boolean operators are not supported by all search engines. For more information, please visit