Searching in Data Structure

Introduction to a data structure

Data structures are the foundation for abstract data types (ADT) in computer science, where ADT is the logical form of data types. Data structures are used to implement the physical architecture of data kinds. Different types of data structures are utilized for diverse purposes; some are used in certain specific functions.

What is Data Structure?

Data structures are defined as a collection of data values and the relationships between them and functions and operations that apply to the data. So that users may effectively access and edit the data. Data structures aid in managing vast volumes of data, such as massive databases. Efficient data structures serve as the foundation for efficient algorithms. In addition to efficient storage, data structures are responsible for retrieving data from stored locations. 

What is Searching in Data Structure?

The process of retrieving the needed information from a collection of objects stored as elements in computer memory is referred to as searching in a data structure. These collections can take several shapes, such as an array, linked list, graph, or tree. Another method to define searching in data structures is to find the required element in a collection of items with particular properties. Searching in a data structure may be accomplished by using searching algorithms to find or extract an element from any stored data structure.

Searching Methods

These abstract data types in data structure algorithms are categorized based on the sort of search operation they execute, for example:

  1. Sequential Search – The list or array of entries is traversed progressively while each set component is checked. As an example, consider Linear Search in c.
  2. Interval Search – Algorithms expressly intended for searching in sorted data structures are included in the interval search. These algorithms outperform linear search methods in terms of efficiency. Logarithmic and binary search trees are two examples of that.

Binary search trees in data structure are evaluated based on the time it takes an algorithm to search a data collection for an element matching the search item and are provided by,

  • The best time possible
  • The average time
  • The worst-case scenario

Linear Search

This is the most basic technique of searching. The element to be discovered in searching the elements to be found is searched progressively in the list in this approach. This approach of time complexity of linear search may be applied to either a sorted or an unsorted list (usually arrays). In the case of a sorted list, searching begins with the 0th element. It continues until the element is discovered or the element with a value larger than (assuming the list is sorted in ascending order) reaches the value being searched.

In contrast, binary tree searching in an unsorted list starts at the 0th element and continues until the list’s element or end is reached.

For example: 

The following list contains the items of an unsorted array. There are 10 elements in the array. Assume the element to be searched is ’46’; 46 is compared to all the elements beginning with the 0th, and the searching process terminates when 46 is discovered, or the list ends.

The linear search’s performance may be tested by counting the number of comparisons made to discover an element. The total number of comparisons is nil (n).

Binary Search

This is a divide and conquers strategy for searching for an element in a list. In the case of sorted lists, this strategy is utilized. Instead of scanning the list one by one, it goes right to the middle element, divides the array into two halves, and determines which sub-array the element resides in.

Assume ARR is an array with n entries sorted in increasing order. The binary search time complexity is constrained inside BEG and END, which are the starting and finishing indexes of sub-arrays, at each step of this method. The index MID denotes the array’s middle index, where MID = INT(beg end )/2.


There are two types of searching: interval search and sequential search, and almost every search algorithm belongs to one of the two categories. Linear and binary searches are two simple algorithms; However, binary performs faster than linear algorithms.

Though linear search is the most basic but quite efficient, binary search is much faster if the data collection is sorted and the array length is enormous.

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