Stump the Database

Submitted by Natalie Mahan on August 20th, 2019
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Short Description: 

This is a simple activity intended to warm up students, break the ice, and introduce the concept of keyword searching. Ask students to come up with a single word search that gives zero results. It’s harder than it sounds. It may be too elementary for graduate students or upperclassmen; use your judgement about students’ abilities and familiarity with searching. This activity can be a great segue in to a lesson on keyword development, Boolean operators, popular terminology vs. technical jargon, and the differences between different kinds of databases.

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Learning Outcomes: 

Students will discuss the importance of keywords in database searching.
Students will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different search strategies.


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Suggested Citation: 
Mahan, Natalie. "Stump the Database." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2019.