January 27, 2013
Peeling the Onion: A Workshop on Research
Park Slope Food Coop
January 27, 2013
Are you frustrated by how long it takes to find useful information about a given topic? Overwhelmed by the Internet and all the data out there? Unsure when to trust a source? Unable to translate your information needs to concrete queries?
Learn about the current information environment and how to navigate its layers for more fruitful searching sessions. Whether you're a student, a community activist, an independent journalist, or just someone who wants to be more efficient, come for research tips and tricks (and bring your own to share)!
Quick list of links: tinyurl.com/cooponion
PDF version of handout attached below.
Expressing Your Search Query
adapted in part from Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial from UC Berkeley
- How much do you already know about the topic?
- Is your research for yourself, for an assignment, for a friend or relative, or for another purpose?
- What unique words, distinctive names, abbreviations, or acronyms are associated with your topic?
- Should you use popular/layperson words or technical/academic terms?
- What other words are likely to be in any online documents on your topic?
- What synonyms, or variant spellings might express your topic?
- Can you think of any extraneous or irrelevant documents these words might pick up?
Evaluating a Web Resource
- Who wrote and published the information online?
- Why was it put online?
The Current Information Landscape
These categories have blurred lines, but here's one way to think of the Internet:
- Organizational and other standard websites, such as those for a school, a business, a newspaper, or our Coop.
- Blogs, consisting of posts in reverse chronological order and ranging from casual projects and personal opinion to sophisticated journalism.
- Databases, such as the Census and the Internet Movie Database.
- Images and video. Major collections of these formats are YouTube and Flickr.
- User generated content and networking, such as Facebook and Twitter. Some content is on the open Web, some requires an online relationship (e.g. “friending” on Facebook) to view.
- Periodical indexes, which are collections of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles.
- Other databases, such as the business directory ReferenceUSA and the test preparation resource LearningExpress Library.
- Google Scholar, which searches online academic journal articles and whose results are often behind a paywall.
Other parts of the Internet
- Email lists and discussion groups, some of whose posts can be found via Google Groups.
- Library catalogs, including the joint catalog WorldCat which collects information from libraries all over the world.
- Full text books, which can be searched online through Google Books.
Magazines and journals
- Some may have articles available on the open Web (check their websites), but content is also often available in periodical indexes through your library.
- General search engines, such as Google and its alternatives, including DuckDuckGo.
- Specialized search engines, such as the health search engine Health on the Net.
- Subscription databases
- Ask a Librarian services, including phone, email, and chat reference
- Interlibrary loan
Notes from the 1/27 workshop:
14 people came!
People had great questions and comments throughout, including:
- How can I find non-US, English-language news and other sources? (We suggested Global Voices Online, among other ideas.)
- How can I do more comprehensive web searches for a person, to make sure that I'm finding even the smaller sources? All of the same results come up at the top of the results list.
- What about Wikipedia?
- Don't you have to register your copyright on something you wrote?
- How can I prevent someone from taking my name off my work and redistributing it?
- Did JSTOR change its policies after the Aaron Swartz incident?
- How can you trust that a .org is really a nonprofit?
- How can I really make Twitter useful for following an issue?
|Peeling the Onion January 2013.pdf||58.05 KB|