Over the last decade Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have supplied affordable residential access to the internet. Traditionally searching techniques have mainly been self taught for the early twenty’s to thirty’s age group who had access to the internet but did not have the appropriate education. Now this group have careers or have gone into higher education and may be in the position where they need to search electronic systems or are teaching their searching skills to others.

This paper establishes what problems this age group encountered when searching with little or no formal training of searching techniques. Volunteers were given search tasks on two search systems, the commercial search engine Google and the technical database thesaurus search system, INSPEC. It was found that many of the users performed efficiently when using Google but were uncomfortable with INSPEC and were quick to stop using the thesaurus feature when unsuccessful with initial queries. These results helped identify the need for formal training at both an early educational level and at a work level especially in today’s modern environment where a large proportion of research is conducted via the internet and the validity of data is paramount.