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Defining Information Needs
Topic 1



  1. Information - any documentation that creates knowledge

    • What are forms of information?

      1. Spoken words

      2. Written information

      3. Music sheets

      4. Paintings and Art

      5. Computer codes

      6. Scientific formulas

  2. Research - the process of collecting, organizing, and analyzing information

    • Information has to be organized for researchers to find and utilize it

    • A complex task if society has a large amount of information

  3. Libraries

    • Classification scheme - a way to organize information, usually by subject

    • Two schemes in the United States

      • Dewey Decimal System - uses index numbers to organize information

        1. Invented in 1876

        2. Used in over 200,000 libraries and in 135 countries

        3. Examples

          1. Social Sciences are 300

          2. Economics is 330

          3. European economy is 330.94

        4. Adds a letter to the number if books have the same index number, but different authors

      • Library of Congress Classification uses letters for subjects and then numbers for subdivisions

        1. Law is K

        2. Criminal law is K5000-5582

        1. International law is KZ

          • Dewey and Library of Congress systems cover 95% of libraries

          • Other systems - medical, engineering, etc.

  4. Example - paper in psychology

    • Scholarly journals

    • Professional websites

    • Respectable databases

    • Be careful - websites, blogs, articles, etc. have to come from good sources

      • Websites - difficult to verity data or accuracy

      • Anyone can create a website

  5. Choose a Topic for research

    • Subject versus topics

    • Example - biodiesel is a subject

      • Which topic to discuss?

      • How much does it cost?

      • How is it made?

      • Does it reduce pollution?

    • The scope - which topics a research paper covers

      • If topic is too wide, then it is difficult to write and includes too much

      • If topic is too narrow, then paper will be too short

      • Choose topics in a research paper to solve problems, answer question, or find out answers


Research Sources


  1. Research sources come as three types

    1. Primary Sources - raw data or original documents

      • Examples

      • Interviews - telephone, surveys, legal proceedings etc.

      • Statistical data

      •  Dissertations - research for a PhD

      • Includes much more

    2. Secondary Sources - researchers take the primary sources and interpret, comment, or analyze the data

      • Examples

      • Scholarly journals and books

      • Encyclopedias if signed by writers

      • Dissertations, if dissertation interprets other journals and books

    3. Tertiary (third) Sources - collections of primary and secondary sources

      • Examples

      • Guide books and handbooks

      • Manuals

      • Encyclopedias

    4. Example 1 - Political Science

      • Primary source is text of a law

      • Secondary source is an essay that explains a law's effectiveness

      • Tertiary source is law is written into a Law Encyclopedia

    5. Example 2 - Economics

      • Primary source is market data

      • Secondary source is a research paper that explains the patterns in data

      • Tertiary source is the analysis of the data is in a textbook

  2. Journals

    1. Popular Journals

      • Written for a broad audience

      • Usually written to entertain audience

      • Contains advertising, pictures, and graphics

      • Contains no references or cited sources

      • Persuades readers

      • Examples - Time and Newsweek

      • Usually never included in a resource papers

    2. Scholarly journals

      • Written in a complex, scientific language

      • Cites sources

      • Purpose is to publish research for scholars

      • Can be included in research papers

      • Peer reviewed journals - a subset of scholarly journals

        • An editor and reviewers the degree of contribution and either accepts or rejects the article

        • The editor and reviewers are expert scholars in their field

        • An excellent source for research papers

    3. Trade Journals - provide information for a specific group of people or an industry

      • Between popular and scholarly journals

      • Contains advertisements specific to an industry

      • These journals may be used for research, but it depends


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