Roseville Adult High School

Module 4: Conducting research using a search engine

Introduction: Search engines are used to conduct broad searches on various topics. They pull information from a variety of sources (databases). There are many search engines on the web (ex: Yahoo!, Excite) and each works a little differently. Just as there are many different ways for you to get from your house to the grocery store, search engines provide many different ways to access information.

Word of warning before you begin: Although searches are quick, they may not always be efficient. For example, you may type in a topic and receive a long list of sites, but some of them may not be related to what you are actually looking for.


Activities: Print out this page.

Using your printed worksheets as a guide, complete the following steps.

Side Note: Each of these search engines provides a variety of information in addition to their search features. For example, many of these search engines provide news, sports, weather, direct links to jobs, chat rooms, and advertising. Some of them provide free web based e-mail accounts as well (ex: Yahoo!, Excite). Information on the web changes daily, so the information stated here may be outdated already.

Find the space to search for topics. You may need to use the scroll bar on the right side of the page. (This should be a white rectangular area with the title "Search" or "Search the Web"). We'll come back to this shortly.

First, we will get general tips on using the various search engines. Click: Print out this web site.

Using your printed worksheets as a guide, complete the following steps.
This site includes information on how to use quotation marks, plus and minus signs, parentheses and the words AND, OR, and NOT in your search process.

Now we will do a search for dental assistant positions. Type: in the location bar on your browser.
Find the search area and type: dental+assistant+jobs. Then click "Enter"

Information is updated constantly. Some of the information will be directly related to what you are looking for. Other information will not. This is research. Click on the first site that AltaVista found for you.

After searching with various engines, over time you may find one or two you enjoy more than others. Each search engine has different features and is designed to find information in different ways. AltaVista, for example offers a link to specific companies/organizations so it is an excellent search engine for locating business information.

Search engines can be accessed directly by typing in their URL (web site address) and hitting the enter key. (ex: To locate AltaVista, type in: to search within its site). You may also find a variety of search engines provided by your browser in the "search" button on your browser. You also have the option to save favorite search engines in your "bookmarks" at any time.

Here are some common search engines. Find another search engine on your own and complete the last table row. (Ex: WebCrawler, Lycos, Netscape, Snap)

Search Engine URL Developer Features
Alta Vista Digital Equipment Corporation Database size: 275,600 servers, 21 million web pages

Simple and Advanced Queries (questions)

Phrase search (in quotes)

Truncation (*)

Required work/phrase (+)

Fielded searches (link, title, URL)

NEAR operator (within 10 words)

RealName feature links you to exact names which have trademarks

Search in one of 25 languages

HotBot Core Technology from U.C. Berkeley Database size: 54 million documents

Simple and Expert Search

Phrase search

Search by location

Search in one of 9 languages

InfoSeek Architext Software Database size: more than 50 million URL's

Phrase search (in quotes)

Case-sensitive search

Fielded search (link, URL, title)

Search for images (special search)

Search in 11 languages

Excite Search Architext Software Database size: 50 million full text URL's

Concept and Keyword search

Supports Boolean searches (AND, OR, NOT)

Search in 9 languages

Yahoo! The first WWW search tool, probably best known

A hierarchical subject-oriented index for the WWW and Internet. Yahoo! lists sites that are submitted by individuals and categorizes them into appropriate categories.

A good tool for browsing topic areas.

Search in a variety of languages.

Now choose a career topic that you wish to explore. What is it?

Click the SEARCH button on your browser.

Refer to the search tip sheet you printed earlier. Use this as a guide to conduct the following search.

Do this as many times as you need to narrow your search. If you're not having any luck, try a different search engine. Use the table below to record your steps and results.

Search Engine

Search Term

Number of Hits

Complete the table below. Find answers to as many of these questions as you can.



Search Engine

Web Site

What is a general description, background, and short history of the company/organization/industry?
What products/services are provided?
How many people are employed? Where are they employed?
What were the annual sales last fiscal year?
Where is the company/organization headquarters?
Are there branch offices? If so, where?
What are the categories/job titles of positions of the people employed?
What are the current job opportunities in this company/organization? The projected future employment opportunities?
What skills are needed to work in this company/organization?
What are the mission, values, and vision of the company/organization? How do they compare to others in the industry?
What are the cultural characteristics of this company/industry?
How does this company/organization compare to others in the industry? How do they compete?
What are the trends and development that influence this company/organization?
What are the global implications for this industry or company/organization?
What are the problems facing this company/organization?
How do the pay scale and benefits compare to other companies/organization in the same industry?
What kind of training is provided to employees?
How could I fit into this company/organization/industry?

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