An animated PowerPoint presentation introducing the fundamental concepts associated with selecting databases to identify and locate information. It is self-paced and easy to follow. It can be used individually or in a class setting.
Type of Material:
This tutorial would serve well as a component of a class or module providing instruction on basic research methodology.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Learning outcomes for the tutorial focus on distinguishing between the different types of article databases and selecting an appropriate database based on information needed.
Target Student Population:
High school, undergraduate college
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A rudimentary understanding of indexes and abstracts, as well as databases.
This is a self-contained, self-paced tutorial that teaches students how and why to choose a database. Before the tutorial is started it explains what skills will be learned and what the computer requirements are. It also has links to where to go if additional information is needed.
The tutorial does not provide a conceptual understanding of what a database is, or identify the various types of databases (e.g., electronic books, archival, data sets, etc.) other than to distinguish between electronic indexes, abstracts, and full text article databases.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This tutorial first tells what is contained in databases, and then asks the question, "What do you need?". It does a good job of leading the student step-by-step on how and why to use a database.
Although the instruction provided is concise, the brevity or abridgment of the information pertinent to understanding electronic indexes/abstracts and full text article databases results in a lack of cohesiveness between the presentation of a conceptual model for selecting appropriate databases and the application of database selection criteria.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Incorporated throughout the PowerPoint presentation are graphics and animations to create a visually appealing tutorial. Navigation within the presentation is very easy.
A voice over elaborating and/or expanding upon the information provided on the slides would greatly improve the tutorial. In addition, demonstrating how to apply the selection criteria would be a nice segue way into a review of the information presented.
Other Issues and Comments:
The tutorial ends abruptly with the question "What do you need?' and a few points elaborating on the question. Such an ending begs the question of--Where do I go from here?
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