What Is Sequential Searching in Data Structure?


Angela Bailey

What Is Sequential Searching in Data Structure?

In data structures, sequential searching is a simple and straightforward method used to find a specific element within a collection or array. It is also known as linear search since it sequentially checks each element in the list until the desired element is found or the end of the list is reached.

How Sequential Searching Works

The sequential search algorithm starts at the beginning of the list and compares each element with the Target value. If a match is found, the search is considered successful, and the index of the matching element is returned. However, if no match is found after examining all elements, then the search is considered unsuccessful.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sequential Searching

Sequential searching has several advantages:

  • It can be applied to any type of list or array structure.
  • It does not require any prior sorting of elements.
  • It works well for small lists or when the Target value is located near the beginning of a large list.

However, sequential searching also has some disadvantages:

  • The time complexity of sequential searching is O(n), where n represents the number of elements in the list. This means that as the size of the list increases, so does the time required to perform each search.
  • In cases where multiple occurrences of a Target value exist in the list, sequential searching only returns the index of the first occurrence.

Implementing Sequential Searching

To implement sequential searching in code, you can use a loop to iterate through each element until a match is found or until all elements have been examined. Here is an example of sequential searching in Python:

def sequential_search(arr, Target):
    for i in range(len(arr)):
        if arr[i] == Target:
            return i
    return -1

# Example usage
my_list = [5, 8, 2, 10, 3]
target_value = 10

result = sequential_search(my_list, Target_value)
if result != -1:
    print("Element found at index", result)
    print("Element not found")


Sequential searching is a basic and intuitive method for finding elements within a list or array. While it may not be the most efficient searching algorithm for large lists, it can still be useful in certain scenarios. Understanding the concept and implementation of sequential searching is essential for any programmer or computer science student.

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