Research Strategies (abridged) - Preface

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HomePreface1 - Taking Charge2 - Databases

3 - Information Fog4 - Periodical Maze 5 - Internet Research6 - Other Resources

7 - Case Studies8 - Learning to Read9 - Organizing Notes10 - Research Writing


Note that chapter arrangements in the 2011 4th print edition will differ from the above. 


Everyone does research.  Some just do it better than others.


This site is definitely for you if you are:

  •  a university student whose term papers have been patented as a cure for insomnia;

  •  the employee of an industrialist who�s been told to do a feasibility study on the expansion potential of ice cream bar sales in Nome, Alaska;

  •  a simple honest citizen trying to find the truth behind the advertising so that the next car you buy won�t be like your last disaster-mobile, the car that made you persona non grata at the automobile association.

Are you ready for your next research project? Really ready? Do you have the skills and strategies to get the job done efficiently and effectively without panic attacks and the need for a long vacation when you�re done? Do you have confidence that you can start with a topic about which you know nothing and end with an understanding of it that is neither trite nor superficial? Are you prepared to enjoy the experience? (Yes, I did say �enjoy.�)

If the previous paragraph has left you feeling somewhat queasy, this book is for you. Even if you have significant research skills, you can learn better ones if you take the time to read on. You have the privilege of living in the information age, with so many opportunities all around you to find out anything about anything. But faced with a humongous number of Internet sites, not to mention academic and commercial databases of increasing size and complexity, knowing how to navigate through the information fog isn�t something you can pick up easily on your own.

Yet you can hardly call yourself educated if you don�t know how to handle information systems and do research effectively, not in a world in which most careers are built more on what you can find out than what you already know.

One caution: This site is about informational research. It won�t teach you how to do a science experiment or determine the best way to train a rat how to ride a tiny bicycle (though the research model I am using could apply to both situations). But if you need to identify a problem, and then acquire and use information to address the problem, this book is for you.

Learning how to do research does not have to be painful. It can be fun. Honestly. Personally, research gives me so much pleasure that my family has to kidnap me out of the library whenever they want to go on an outing or buy groceries. You can have the same joy that I have. Read on.



Last revised: July 13, 2012