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WCF.M2.L18 - World Christian Foundations Study Guide

Objectives: To be able to...
  • Use electronic databases to locate relevant readings in professional journals.



You need to know how to access valuable information available from specialized databases and directories that cannot be retrieved from searching web general search engines and directories.

Surface Web:

Most people who use the web to retrieve information use search engines (e.g. Alta Vista, Google) or search directories (e.g. Yahoo). Some use web-based encyclopedias (e.g. Encyclopedia Britannica) or library catalogs.

We call these resources the “surface” web. The Surface Web is comprised of a variety of web documents, pictures, and video and audio clips that can be retrieved by using search engines or search directories.

Invisible/Deep Web:

There is also an invisible/deep web. The invisible/deep web is information and records retrieved from specialized searchable databases or directories that can be searched via the web. These documents cannot be retrieved from searching the search engines/directories found on the surface web. The information you find in the invisible web tends to be of a higher quality because you are tapping into specialized resources.

The following databases index invisible web resources. These can be used as you search your research topic.

* Infomine (–Scholarly Internet Resources Collection developed by the University of California, Riverside.

* The Invisible Web Catalog (–developed by Lycos

* AcademicInfo (–Gateway to quality educational resources

* Google Scholar (–Gateway to scholarly documents that may be citations, abstracts, or complete documents.

Public Library Resources:

Libraries in large cities have electronic catalogues and other databases available on their web site (e.g. Los Angeles Public Library:; Chicago Public Library:


Complete the following research exercise in order to prepare for writing your research paper for this module.

1. Create a research vocabulary for your search.

a. What are the key terms or concepts in your research question or topic statement? (There should be at least two.)

b. Write at least three terms related to your first key concept. (Follow the guidelines for broader, related, and narrower.)




Personal Response, Intellectual Journal, Notes

Task (continued)

c. Write at least three terms related to your second key concept. (Follow the guidelines for broader, related, and narrower.)




d. Write at least three terms related to your third key concept, as appropriate. If you have other key concepts, follow the same format below. (Follow the guidelines for broader, related, and narrower.)




2. Use the research vocabulary to search for materials using:

* one of the invisible web databases listed above, and

* a general search engine or directory (e.g. AltaVista, Google, Northernlight, Yahoo).

3. Write down some results and then explain the differences found between using the two types of resources.

4. Based on the discipline (anthropology, history, etc.) you choose as the foundation for your research, list the names of four databases you think should have information useful to your research, and list your reasons for selecting each. Your answer should reflect what you know about a database’s coverage and disciplinary orientation.