Aids & Suggestions for Searching,
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Exploring, & Gathering Evidence
- Learn well how to search the Internet. Remember that
you must evaluate the authenticity of material of interest to you. Do
not neglect to use your library.
- Prepare a Library Program. Investigate local libraries
and take any scheduled library tours. Take a library science course
at school. For books your library doesn’t have, ask to borrow
through inter-library loan from other libraries or branches.
- Periodicals at the Library. Browse through a variety
of magazines and newspapers, the greatest sources of information and
idea triggers. Examine the reference book section. Consult periodical
indexes and Books in Print for help on your subject.
- Free Help. Discuss your subject with anyone familiar
with it. This can be a relative, friend, teacher, business colleague,
or professional person – draw them out. Pick their minds. Challenge
them. Make notes for review.
- Hold Brainstorming Sessions. Also, talk to yourself
out loud . . . or use someone as a sounding board.
- Organize Your Data. Set up a good filing system.
Inexpensive plastic crate files are available at office supply and discount
stores. Also use a computer, if available, both for searching and storing
data. Avoid carelessness and sloppy paperwork.
- Check Telephone Yellow Pages for local new and used
bookstores. Call first for categories available and price ranges. Visit
used bookstores everywhere.
- Organizations, Professional Societies, Government Agencies.
These can provide domain-specific data. Watch for scheduled exhibits.
The library has directories of them.
- Use Post-it Notes™ to mark pages you want to
copy or review. Use yellow highlighter on your own material for emphasis.
- Keep Track of Names of articles and books you may
have to cite.
- Study Group. Try to form a group of friends with
similar interests to research.
- “Facts” can often be wrong. Be skeptical!
Better to use the word “data.”
Learn to Abstract Concepts From Material You Read
College professors complain that many students who come to them do not
know how to dig out and comprehend the basic principles and concepts in
the material assigned. You must train yourself to do this. Reflect after
reading – what is really important? What concepts and what basic
principles are involved? List these for study and review.