This week’s readings included two articles about freedom of information in a networked world. Basically, we considered how the notion of literacy is changing with the advent of digital technologies. One of the questions we were asked to consider is as follows: What strategies do you use to manage the volume of information available on the internet when you are researching a topic? This is the perfect question for a teacher like me to answer …
I’m not going to lie: I immediately use Google and keep my fingers crossed that there is a Wikipedia article about whatever I’m researching. I then read through the Wikipedia info and check the “Notes” at the bottom of the page to see if there are further articles about the topic that I can read. This is what I often suggest to my students as our school doesn’t view Wikipedia as a credible source (although, in its defence, I think it has become much more academic over the years). Depending on what I find, I will also use JSTOR and Google Scholar for academic journal articles on specific topics. I try not to print these articles as they are usually too long, so I will save them in organised folders on my Bookmark Bar. Depending on the type of research I’m doing, I will use the “find” tool to search for specific words or phrases. I’ll then highlight and/or make notes on an e-sticky. As much as I love to keep things as tech as possible, I will admit that I initially take handwritten notes using my spiral notebook. I’m a visual learner and I sometimes find it’s easier for me to draw my notes rather than use a program on my laptop. I continually use EasyBib or Cite This For Me to keep track of my citations (again, creating a separate folder for each new assignment).
Managing the volume of available information is difficult as there are literally millions of articles, posts, samples, journals, sites … the list could go on forever. I try to be as specific as possible, but sometimes that proves to be too focused, resulting in nothing. I then have to refine my search, maybe take out a few words or use a synonym in order to obtain my desired result.
As a teacher, I encourage my students to use both print and electronic sources. We have an amazing library at our school and our librarian is an absolute wealth of information (she is leaving for Bangkok at the end of the year and I swear I don’t know what we’ll do without her). She holds information sessions on referencing, researching, and writing. She is like the Sheldon Cooper of our library: she knows everything!!
I usually type and save everything in Word, then share it to my GDrive, then create a pdf of it in the same folder. It seems like overkill when I write it down here, but it’s necessary for me to ensure I have a back-up. I get nervous when I have to write big research papers (like the one due in April) so I want to ensure that I have copies of my papers everywhere.
Yes, I am a little bit OCD, and I’m not afraid to say it.
“CiteThisForMe.” Cite This For Me, http://www.citethisforme.com/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
“EasyBib.” EasyBib, Chegg, http://www.easybib.com/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
“Google.” Google, http://www.google.com/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
“Google Scholar.” Google Scholar, scholar.google.com. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
“JSTOR.” JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
“Main Page.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
Staaks, Janneke. “Research Data Management.” Flickr, Yahoo!, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jannekestaaks/.