3. Expert Searching

What do I need to do for the Expert Searching post?

In this post (approx 800 words) you will document your process of ‘re-search’ using expert search strategies and a range of search tools. You will document your search strategies and critical analyse of your search. You will include new QUESTIONS you have about inquiry learning generated via your searching and reading of the information you have found.

Where do I start?

  • Start with Google. Choose some search terms. These should be based upon the 3 inquiry questions your posed in your initial post. You many wish to do general searches first on inquiry learning, and then add synonyms, related terms and alternative spellings
  • You may wish to narrow the search to particular subject areas e.g. history, science, geography
  • Try narrowing the search to the age group you teach e.g. lower primary, secondary, higher education. Use synonyms and related terms such as elementary, high school, middle school, Year 12 etc.
  • As you search you will discover new terms to use and you will discard others
  • Document and analyse your search as you go – this means making notes on the search terms you used, the search strings you tried (a search string is the collection of terms and functions such as Boolean operators that you use together) and taking screen shots/clips of the more complex searches as evidence. Make note of the number of hits to see whether you are broadening or narrowing the search. Make note of whether the search is generating relevant sources. Scan the sources to check relevance and to find new terms. Save sources that appear relevant for reading in depth and possible use for your curation collection
  • Your Expert Searching post should be a refined and edited version of your search (like the cooking shows say “Here is one I prepared earlier”), it should not be your verbatim actions, that is, it should not include every step you took

In your Expert Searching post you will need to: critically analyse your expert search strategies using a range of the following tools (NOTE: you should search at least one Library database):

  • Demonstrate your understanding and use of advanced search strategies such as compound Boolean operators, double quotes and brackets, truncation, wildcard, proximity operators and controlled vocabulary such as thesauri and subject headings


  • Sample expert search strategies – again, these need to be precise, not exploratory
  • Mind-maps of search terms showing relationships between terms

What are Boolean Operators?

Here is a great search strategies page from the QUT Library. The page explains technical aspects such as subject/keyword/author searching, Boolean Operators, mathematical operators, implied operators, proximity and phrase searching, truncation, wildcard, nesting, field searching and limiters. You will need to use as many of these that are relevant to your search to show that you understand expert searching.

Here is a short textual explanation of how Boolean operators work.

This is a fun video from University of Sydney explaining Boolean searching:

Check out this video by ‘cutemiffy’ explaining Boolean operators:

Here is a kid-friendly video by Julia Evans that explains the difference between Boolean operators and grammar. This difference is very confusing!:

How will I evaluate the information I find?

Ask yourself:

  • How does this source help me to extend my understanding of my inquiry question/s?
  • How relevant is this source to my inquiry question/s?
  • Is it useful in offering theories, concepts or practice-based examples?
  • Is it particularly well-written and argued?
  • Is it confirmation of other sources or does it offer an alternative perspective that should be considered?

You should also consider the above questions when choosing a minimum of 10 best sources for your curation collection.

How will I be marked in the Expert Searching post?

This is a highly weighted post. You will be marked on:

  • Your application and critical analysis of your search techniques and strategy
  • The quality of your critical reflection as seen in the inquiry questions you pose at as you search