21 Introduction

Searching as Strategic Exploration

Module Introduction

In this module you will learn that searching is a strategic exploration for information sources. Searching is a strategic, exploratory journey based upon inquiry. Part of the exploratory process is choosing sources that meet your information needs. In Module 1, you learned about types of sources. You will evaluate information sources based not only on relevance and credibility, as discussed in Module 2, but also based on your research needs – to learn background information, to answer your research question, to persuade or make an argument or, for this class, to create your final project, an annotated bibliography.

Strategic search strategies that you will learn in this module include The BEAM Research Method, which is used for organizing and evaluating sources for different rhetorical purposes. Other strategies include combining keywords and concepts to develop search strings, using Boolean Operators to narrow/expand your search, and incorporating punctuation tricks to refine your search results. (1)

Learning Outcomes

This module aligns with Learning Outcome 3.

Module Objectives

Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Match sources to use for background, exhibits, argument, and methods.
  • Describe the process of searching as strategic exploration.
  • Design a strategic search strategy. (1)

Required Readings

Teaching & Learning, Ohio State University Libraries. Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research: (CC BY 4.0.)

Note: External links and videos embedded within Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research are supplemental in nature.

Learning Unit: Searching as Strategic Exploration

Assignments and Learning Activities

  • Complete Readings
  • Participate in Module 5 Discussion
  • Complete Strategic Search Strategies Assignment


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