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Research Strategies : Finding your Way through the Information Fog



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  • Research Strategies
    Research Strategies


PrefaceEveryone does research. Some just do it better than others.This book is definitely for you if you are:a university student whose term papers have been patented as a cure for insomnia;a Dilbert of industry who's been told to do a feasibility study on the expansion potential of ice cream bar sales in Nome, Alaska; ora simple honest person 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 think 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 boundless 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. Truth to tell, research is telling us that most people have vastly higher opinions about their research ability than actual tests of that ability can demonstrate.Yet you can hardly call yourself educated if you don't have really good skills in handling complex information systems and doing research effectively, not in a world in which most careers are built more on what you can find out than what you already know.Who am I to try to teach you about research? Just someone who has taught the strategies in this book to thousands of anxious university students, both undergraduate and graduate, for 25+ years, and who likes nothing better than to walk people through the information fog. I am Associate Librarian for Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Information Literacy at Trinity Western University. Being the author of a number of books and scholarly articles myself (see my bio at, you can rest assured that I've devoted a lot of my life to doing research and not just teaching it. So I understand what you're going through.One caution: This book 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 bicycle (though it will help you do a literature review). 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.Updates to the textbook will be posted at: the Research Strategies Website for live links, keys and teaching aids: the Research Strategies Textbook site for courses, syllabi, etc: me on Facebook. Search for: Research Strategies

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