Analyze and use search engines to conduct research.
Evaluate web sites.
Set up and use a database on a personal computer.
Analyze databases on the web for use in classroom instruction.
Evaluate the use and utility of spreadsheets.
This module reviews various research and data management technology
tools used in HSTE and HOSA. These include web-based searches, evaluation of
material from those searches, using databases, analyzing databases for
classroom instruction, and using spreadsheets.
best tools for finding resources and information on the Web are search
engines. Search engines resemble a card catalogue in a library and are used
to find desired information. Search engines use software programs known as
robots, spiders, or crawlers. These programs automatically follow
hyperlinks from one document to the next around the Internet. When they
discover a new site, they send information back to the main site to be
on the Web starts with a specific focus and questions. If your search is
not specific on the Internet, you will receive useless information and waste
time screening. The time wasted by searching is called “trashing.” To
avoid wasted time, help students develop specific questions or search terms
before they begin a search. It is also a good idea to search sites before
working with students. Students would benefit from a list of specific sites
to visit as a starting point.
Information on the Internet is not peer-reviewed or censored!
Anyone can publish a
Web Site, so look at all information critically and examine the source of
information. Just because it is on the Internet does not mean it is
accurate or credible. To discover more about the creators of a site, click
the button labeled “About” or “Who We Are.”
Resource Locator (URL)
A Universal Resource
Locator is the unique address for a site on the Internet. By looking at the
URL, you can tell if the Web Site is from a company, a government office, or
a non-profit organization.
.com or .net
These sites are most likely to be those of commercial, for–profit
organizations. Commercial sites want to promote their product so they
may have a biased point of view.(www.ibm.com)
These are most likely a reputable academic center linked to a
University. “edu” stands for educational. (www.duke.edu)
These are U.S. Government sites like the Food and Drug Administration
and the National Institutes of Health. These sites have accurate and
credible information since they are not trying to promote a product. (www.fda.gov)
These sites are sponsored by the branches of the military and offer
accurate and credible information. (www.navy.mil)
simply means “organization” and non-profits, charities, independent
research centers and institutes use this designation. Beware that
political organizations and groups with specific agendas also use this
URL, and they often have political biases.
Types of Searches
There are two basic types of searches:
arrange Internet resources by subject headings. These menus work better
when looking at a broad topic and there is uncertainty of search terms to
use. They also provide actual links to those resources. Examples of
subject directories are:
Searches allow you to type
in a word or phrase that send out spiders to find a match for what was
typed. The search engine can provide a list that is totally unrelated to
the word for which is being searched.
For a check
sheet that you can use with students for evaluating web sites that are used
for biomedical searches, click here:
checklist that can be used in web site evaluation, click here:
Boolean search words. (Great visual resource:
Narrows a search
Skeletal and diseases
Expands a search
Cardiac or heart
Narrows a search
Cardiac not heart
“quotation marks.” This makes the words in quotes appear together in your
search. This is very useful when researching proper names or phrases.
aware of upper and lower case sensitivity to eliminate common nouns in place
of the proper nouns. For example, if you wish to research the AIDS virus
and you type aids in lower case, you may get hits like band aids, school
aids, etc. (Typing a word in lower case searches both upper and lower
cases.) A great resource is Kathy’s Schrock”s The ABC’s of Web Site
Helpful Web Sites on
Popular Search Engines
(human-powered search service)
service aids the Internet user in conducting research. One such
subscription service is Karnak at
There is a fee for research services of this kind, therefore, read the
instructions carefully. How helpful is a subscription service? This is
what Karnak says about its research service:
helps you find and accumulate a personal library of knowledge. Because
Karnak was designed for research, not cursory searches, it does a lot
more than just find information.
compiles information from multiple sources, weeding out obviously bad
information, storing findings in your personal library, and providing
you a summarized, condensed, and highlighted report.
uses hundreds of Web sites to cross-reference topics, verify Internet
sites, pages, and requested information, and sort out non-pertinent
links. Karnak does the tedious work.
The following readings are recommended for
understanding the use of research and data management tools in HSTE and
The Boolean Machine
The ABC’s of Web Site
Management System and Tutorial
Databases and the World
Burke, Lillian and Barbara Weill. Information Technology for the Health
Professions. Prentice-Hall Inc., 2000.
Chapter 4: Security
and Privacy in an Electronic Age
Go to the Assignments page for a listing
of assignments for Module 4!
Next, let's go to
the Module 5!
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