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Information Needs and Strategies
Topic 2

Research Sources


  1. Johannes Gutenberg - created a type press in Europe around 1439

    • Full name - Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg

    • Note - Chinese invented the press centuries before

    • Renaissance, scientific revolution, and knowledge based society

      • Books are mass produced; not hand written

      • The public could get a hold of books

      • People have access to knowledge and can build upon it

      • Creates a literate society; purpose of education

      • Note - book holders protected their knowledge before the printing press (i.e. the Church)

    • Gatekeepers - people who approve and publish books

      1. Costly to publish

      2. Will book sell? Is it worthy to be published?

      3. Scrutinize the manuscripts closely; editors; reviewers.

    • Website:  www.gutenberg.org

      1. 33,000 books

      2. Old books, i.e. the Classics

      3. U.S. Copyright protection - protects software, movies, music, and books

        1. Author's death plus 50 years

        2. Other countries have much shorter copyright laws

        3. Popular books are on Wikipedia.org; looks for external links to full texts

    • Go to Wikipedia.org and search "List of Digital Library Projects"

    • Historical texts - a professor or history buff may have posted historical documents on the internet

  2. Internet - explosion of information

    • Gatekeeper has been eliminated

    • Anyone can design a webpage or publish a book

    • CreateSpace - part of Amazon; allows anyone to publish a book cheaply

      • Book is printed on demand when someone buys it

      • Amazon - has over 5 million books

    • Webpages

      • Requires careful research

      • Updated more frequently than books; Updated in seconds

      • Easily altered or manipulated without detection; revision of history

      • Hyperlinks - readers may jump around in reading or not read in chronological order

  3. Many books, journals, and newspapers are electronic

    • E-books are not that popular; Kindle and Sony Ebook Reader

    • Many scholarly journals are online

      1. Requires membership and legal licenses; expensive

      2. School uses SUNY; know your account

      3. Still a gatekeeper

      4. Journals use PDF formats to preserve notation and layout

      5. Open source journals - directory

        • www.openj-gate.com

        • www.doaj.org

        • Quality may be low now

        • Gain in popularity - scholars want to be cited; scholar needs access to articles, increasing chance of being cited

        • Scholars in poor countries have access to research

        • Government may encourage more open source

          • Gov. funds universities and libraries that pay for journal subscriptions

          • Gov. funds researchers who write scholarly articles

  4. Governments and organizations

    • Many give free access to data and research reports

    • U.S. Federal Government - has a statistics bureau in every agency

      • U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics - Unemployment rate

        • www.dol.gov

      • U.S. Department of Energy - energy data

        • www.doe.gov

        • Energy Information Administration, www.eia.doe.gov

    • World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) - some data is free

  5. Wikipedia.org

    • Anyone can contribute to articles

    • Not citable as a source

    • Nature - most articles are accurate; mistakes are comparable to the Encyclopedias

    • Great place to begin your research

    • Check the references or external links at the end of the article


Doing Research


  1. Steps for a good research paper

    • You must be interested in your topic

      • Your writing may reflect whether you like your topic or not

    • Take time and plan your research

      • One day organize your data

      • Another day, read another paper

      • Do not try to research the night before it is due

    • Stay positive and persevere

      • May hit bad sources or cannot find what you are looking for

      • Try different sources and approaches

    • Ask yourself questions

      • Implement into research that paper answers

  2. Research mistakes

    • Avoid regurgitating data - collect data, organize data, but do not offer any new ideas

    • Tends to be boring; offers no depth or analysis

  3. Research Questions

    • Similar to an Essay

      1. Essay - Introduction - is thesis statement

      2. Statement is an opinion or viewpoint

      3. Rest of essay supports the statement

      4. Conclusion

    • Research paper answers a question

    • Examples

      • Communism

        • Thesis - Communism is a better system than capitalism

        • Research - Does Communism lead to a higher standard of living?

      • Obesity for poor people

        • Thesis - Government should tax sodas and fast food to reduce obesity in poor people

        • Research - Why are poor people more obese?


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