Searching Databases For Kids

Janet Moore

So What Is A Database?

A database is a site that will look through hundreds of newspapers, encyclopedias, magazines and books for you. All you have to do is type in one or more words to describe what you are looking for and then let the database do the rest!

Where Do I Start?

1. Define Your Subject! Start by asking what do you want to know?
2. Brainstorm! List everything that you can that is related to the topic even if it's funny.
3. What knowledge do you already have? List your thoughts about what you know.
4. Put "like" ideas in groups. Check your brainstorming list for synonyms.
5. Make a Keywords and Phrases list.
6. Ask your librarian for assistance in finding resources!

Research Information

1. Use the library catalog to search by Subject, Author's Name or Book Title. Use simple words!
2. Use your Key Words and Phrases to search the Encyclopedia Index for your topic.
3. Magazines and newspapers are great sources of information about current events.
4. Use a Dictionary!

Search the Internet

1. Search Engine. Use Specific words or phrases.
2. Any page which comes up Error 404 or file not found means it's no longer on the Web.
3. Use BOOLEAN words (AND, OR, NOT). This makes for a better search. Type AND, OR, NOT in Capital Letters between your key words.
4. Use an asterisk * with 3 letters and a variation will appear. This is called Truncation. This may save you time so you're not repeating searches.
5. Phrase Searching. This can be done by using quotation marks around the phrase or check for a drop down box that has this option and choose phrase search options.
6. Certain databases such as ERIC have a Thesaurus tab. Search for terms about your topic of interest and then investigate subject headings.
7. Redo your search using subjects or descriptors you can find.

Analyze and Evaluate Facts

1. Who wrote the database?
2. What bias might the author have?
3. What expertise does the writer have?
4. Evaluating the validity of the data found in a database will help students decide about information found on the Internet.