Expert Searching – Google

I am a regular user of Google; I don’t think a day goes by without me using Google for a quick answer or some in depth research. I like to think that I’m an expert Google-er and often come away from my searches with the information I had set out to find. I was excited to learn some new researching techniques to apply to my Google-ing, and have documented my process below.

Firstly, a quick reminder of my initial questions regarding inquiry learning:

  1. In what way do our emotions either support or hinder student learning experiences, and how can we harness them during inquiry learning?
  2. How can we move from teacher directed activities to student directed activities, while keeping in mind those students with differentiated learning needs?
  3. How can we create meaningful learning experiences that can be connected directly with students’ life experiences?

To demonstrate expert researching techniques within Google, I shall be focusing on researching the first question:

In what way do our emotions either support or hinder our search for information, and how can we harness them during inquiry learning?

The following is a list of terms I shall be researching to narrow down the field of information:

  • Inquiry learning
  • Guided inquiry
  • Student centered inquiry
  • Emotions in learning
  • Emotions and inquiry learning

I shall be searching all of these terms within a primary context where possible.

The following table outlines the some of the phrases I input into Google, the number of results Google returned, a brief commentary on the relevance of the search, and a rating between 1 (lowest) and 10 (highest) on how effect the search was.

Phrase Results Commentary Rating
Inquiry learning 158,000,000 An overwhelming number of results returned for this search, all with the addition of “-based.” This search, although a helpful initial start, does not provide many opportunities for in depth research into inquiry learning. 4
“Inquiry learning” 396,000 Addition of double quotations significantly reduces the number of results; which are more academically inclined towards introducing inquiry learning into the classroom. 5
“Guided inquiry” 257,000 The results returned in this search are again, more academic. There is no mention of Wikipedia within the results, and each source is directly linked to incorporating guided inquiry into the classroom. 6
“Inquiry learning” “student centred” 40,200 Initial results included PDFs on “student centred inquiry” written for academic journals. Each resource highlighted the impact of centring inquiry learning on the student and the benefits of doing so. 6
“emotions” “learning” 86,500,000 Although a large number of results, each result was based upon documented research into how emotions can play an important role in creating meaningful learning experiences. 7
“emotions” “inquiry learning” 200,000 Although still a large number of results, it is still less than the previous search, suggesting that this was a more refined search. Some interesting results that link the science behind how emotions create a deeper connection with learning experiences, and how by combining the emotions of learning with inquiry learning can create a stronger, authentic learning experience. 9

As can be seen in the commentary, with each addition or exclusion, Google offered up results that became more and more relevant to my initial question.

I discovered that when it come to Google, applying AND between each double quotation did not alter the return of results, it would appear that Google treats a space and AND as the same thing. Here is an example:

“Emotions” “inquiry learning” – returned 200,000 results.

“Emotions” AND “inquiry learning – also returned 200,000 results, all of which (at a brief glance) appear to be similar.

It is clear that by implementing Boolean operators within a Google search, you can dramatically reduce the number of results received by forcing Google to search an exact phrase, as opposed to phrases that are close enough.

Below I have included a few examples of different searches I have completed within Google, using different Boolean Operators to further refine the information:

Search 1: This search allowed me to find relevant information that was specific to primary classrooms, while still focusing on the importance of emotions and inquiry learning.Search 1

Search 2: By altering the search to include curriculum and exclude high schools, the search returned results that were specific examples of a primary school that has implemented inquiry learning into their curriculum, whilst focusing on the importance of the connection with emotion and learning.Search 2

Search 3: In this final example of Boolean Operators and their effect on searches, I separated the search into more bracketed phrases and was surprised to learn that the results returned were based more on teacher welfare within the classroom.Search 3

Search 4: This fourth and final search I wish to include, demonstrates the ability to allow for a search within certain dates of publication. The custom range option allows users to clearly define the dates they wish to search between. This option will provide users with the opportunity to find more recent results.Search 4

I am confident that these research techniques have aided in narrowing down the available information, allowing me to answer my initial question with well documented research.

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