Archive | September 2014

Efficiency learned

Researching is so hard and takes so long. I used to spend weeks preparing research.  When I applied for PhD places, in 2005 and 2006, I spent a week at a time preparing my proposals for research.  Usually the form asked for how it fitted in with existing literature but I had no idea, neither about the literature nor where to find it.  Now, some years later, I listen to experienced academics discussing prospective research, a research quest to propose and contacts to network with for access.  How sophisticated!

When I started the Masters in Research, I had no idea about academic journals, what they offered or where to find them.  Yet I’ve just completed a systematic literature search of a business topic within days!  What happened? I learned:

  • about different sources of information
  • relevant academic sources
  • how to search
  • how to keep an audit trail of my search

The technology helps.  There are now

  • academic databases
  • citation software
  • analysis software

These all help a researcher work as quickly as the ideas flow, without any hold up to visit some distant library to find a tome,  methodically write  notes and copy details.  Douglas Coupland in the FT says we’re “rebuilding our neural structures”.  When it comes to researching the literature, I’ve rebuilt mine .