Reference: Lien, C (2000). "Approaches to Internet Searching: An Analysis of Students in Grades 2 to 12".Journal of Instruction Delivery Systems, 14(3), 6-13.
Principle: This study explores Internet search methods completed by students in grades 2 to 12 to successfully complete the search for specific information.
Design: A survey was used to understand the students Internet search abilities and usage. Three separate searches were completed and the 125 students in the study answered questions about the search methods and information that was obtained.
Independent Variable: The independent variable is the search engines the students used to gain information.
Dependent Variable: The dependent variables are the students' answers to the questions about the search engines, sites, and methods that were used.
Procedures: One hundred and twenty-five students ranging in age from 7 to 18 (in grades 2 to 12) participated in this study. The students were given instructions to complete the searches. The researchers developed a qualitative rubric to assess the students' performance. The children were evaluated on his or her ability to formulate a search, identify keywords to use, and whether he or she was studying the information on the screen. The students could work in groups and ask any questions. All of these interactions were recorded. The analysis of the data was quantitative and observational. The qualitative data was used to supplement the quantitative data tabulated from the surveys.
Results: The hypothesis is supported by the results of the study. First, there are differences in search methods used by students. Second, high school students used a higher variety of search engines. Younger students did not use a variety of search engines. This may be due to restrictions placed on access to search engines. All students tended to use search engines that they had used at school or at home. The third observation is that middle school students were able to use advanced strategies to perform searches. But they did not answer as many questions correctly as did the high school students that used alternative searches. The elementary students did not have the ability to perform advanced searches. However, when they worked collaboratively more answers were correctly answered.
Comments: The author suggests more research needs to be completed to analyze the effects of collaborative work when using the Internet. Also, a study needs to be done comparing the use of the Internet among students of the same age. Unlike this study that compared students across a wide range of ages. Another study could also be done to understand the age appropriateness of search engines. That is, do the words and illustrations allow young children to understand the information that is found in search engines? This study (by Lien) could also be re-done using a larger sample size.