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Key Terms and Strategies

girl with laptopA student information scientist develops skills in identifying key terms and search strategies through gaining experiences in varied information inquiry situations. The scientist might ask him or herself the following questions:

Becoming proficient at the use of key terms and strategies is associated with the following Information Literacy Standards (AASL, 1998):

The following examples demonstrate how a student matures as he or she gains experience and expertise.


pollutionThe developmental levels of students will impact their sophistication as information scientists. For example, young children may have limited vocabulary impacting their ability to identify effective search terms.

Let’s say students are investigating issues about the importance of clean drinking water. A second grader may come up with the words “dirty”, “bad”, “smelly”, or “yucky” water, while a sixth grader with a larger vocabulary may use words such as “pollute”, “poison”, “harmful”, “taint”, and “contaminate.”

Explore Annie's primary and intermediate school investigations for more detail.

The Island of Java

Java - Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at AustinLess experienced student information scientists may be able to identify the differences between using the World Wide Web and electronic databases, but may not be aware that different search strategies can be applied to increase the quality of information gathering.

A beginning information scientist with limited search strategies would become frustrated using a web-based search tool such as Google to locate information on the Indonesian island of Java. However a sophisticated student would quickly recognize that the term "Java" applies to coffee and computer programming in addition to this island. This knowledge would then be applied to search refinement.

In addition, mature student information scientist might also begin a search for the island of Java with an electronic database focusing on countries.

Explore Hannah's investigation for more detail.

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