Database Scavenger Hunt

Submitted by Shelby Hallman on August 16th, 2022
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Short Description: 

Description: The Database Scavenger Hunt engages pairs of students in locating specific information or performing specific tasks across multiple resources. Each team works through a series of 16 questions/tasks, with verification of correct answers from the librarian/professor after every 1 or 2 questions, then places a mark on the corresponding wall grid of questions once an answer is deemed correct. The process repeats until the team completes all questions.

The wall grid acts as a way to track where teams are in the game and creates a light-weight race to finish first. (Optional: provide a small prize to either the first team to finish or do a drawing of all teams that finished to give out a prize). See image below of completed wall-grid, with each color/shape of sticky note representing a different team.

Verifying answers after each/every 2 questions ensures students are finding the correct information and completing the tasks. Once a majority of teams complete all 16 questions, there is a group discussion of difficult questions and demoing of any specific problem areas. Before the activity begins, the librarian/instructor can demo where to find databases & database descriptions on the library webpage and mention how to log in. 

Questions can be customized to match the class/subject area. The example attached below is for an undergraduate research group. Examples of changes include: switching databases & examples, focusing on different types of information (patents, standards, handbooks, webpages, etc.), changing tasks based on assignment needs, etc.

Note: Because of the verification step, this activity is best with groups of 20 or less and with the assistance of either the professor or another colleague. 

Materials Needed:

  • Question sheet for each student
  • Answer sheet for each librarian/professor/instructor
  • Wall grid, cut into half-size pages
  • Sticky notes (or some method of distinguishing team marks on grid)
  • Tape to adhere grid to wall
  • Prize (optional)
Learning Outcomes: 
  • Students will know how to identify databases relevant to their needs and topic.
  • Students will have basic familiarity with multiple database interfaces.
Individual or Group: 
Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

Assignment Pairings:

Pairs well with search strategy, in-depth database/resource demo or usage, guided searching, assessing sources, and literature reviews.

Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 
Assessment or Criteria for Success
Assessment Short Description: 
Assessment is conducted via formative assessment during the game by monitoring difficult questions/tasks and immediately after the game via discussion and review.
Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

Note: Because of the verification step, this activity is best with groups of 20 or less and with the assistance of either the professor or another colleague. 

Suggested Citation: 
Hallman, Shelby. "Database Scavenger Hunt." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2022.