Search Exercise


Before we plan anything for our students we need to take the digital tools for a spin.

  1. Try three new search engines (e.g. yahoo, hotbot, duckduckgo)
  2. Visit their advanced search page
  3. Compare the results for identical searches
  4. Spend a day using one of these search engines rather than Google
  5. Explore your university library search functions

The Assignment

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this assignment students will

  1. have mastered a new search engine
  2. understand the role of the new search engine in the context of the current search climate

What are the steps in this assignment? How will the students experiment, build, and then communicate their work? How does this assignment fit in with the rest of the course?


The students will keep an ungraded experiment journal during the week that they spend using a new search engine. They will write up a blog post about their experience for the class blog. This assignment will help prepare them for the university library's workshop on how best to find peer-reviewed resources, and will help them to targeted search as they research for their term paper. None of these activities will take place in class.

Experiment Journal

  1. Research the history of a new search engine (Take notes. When was it first launched? Who owns it? How is it funded? How does the advanced search work? Does it save information about its users? What are the novel features of its interface?)
  2. Try to spend a week using the a new search engine (Take notes. What are the advanced search and operator functions offered by the search engine? Did you get any surprising results? How did it make you feel? If you had to give up and return to Google, what was your breaking point?)

Build and Communicate

Blog post

Write a blog post containing a 100-word history of your search engine, a 100-word account of your experience, three tips for effective use of your search engine, a 200-word argument about the engines merits or faults relative to Google's search engine.


Blog post    /15

Accurate history of the search engine   /2
Clear account of experiment process   /2
Three tips   /4
Logical argument for or against the search engine relative to Google's search engine   /4
Correct formatting for blog post   /1
Proofreading   /1
Citations   /1

Tutorials and Guidelines

Cultural Context