Teaching Strategic Searching Practices in Discovery Systems
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Discovery systems are designed to enable students to one-stop shop for research. Because they can draw from multiple information sources, from discipline-specific databases to Google, the number of results returned for searches can often be overwhelming for students both in quantity and focus. Because of this, it is increasingly important that students be more intentional and strategic about planning a research strategy. One frame in the new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, addresses this specifically: Searching as Strategic Exploration. This frame calls on learners to develop multiple practices for searching that become markedly important when using a discovery system: employing different searching language types (e.g., controlled vocabularies) and utilizing divergent thinking (e.g., brainstorming). In order to effectively find relevant sources, students must consider controlled vocabularies across multiple disciplines and be intentional about the ways they search and keywords they use, as well as make strategic use of limiters in order to wade through the “noise” and find relevant, appropriate results. One possible way to help students think about their searching more purposefully is using concept maps, which can be employed for brainstorming and aid in students’ ability to make connections among different facets of one research topic. This lighting talk will give a brief explanation of the educational value of concept maps, and explore how they could be employed to help students grapple with the large amount of information available to them through discovery systems.