Friday, 11 September 2015

Gathering Research Resources

I have always interacted with my lecturers and colleagues a lot, building good relationships where I can ask my thousand questions of a range of people (so as not to tire out any one person too much). I have built a LinkedIn network of people, have joined organisations such as the Academy of Management, and the International Leadership Association. I have also joined ResearchGate and Academia.edu.

This practice has grown my network well enough for me to be able to ask lots of people for articles, directly, or with one degree of separation; or to access journals through my memberships. Networking is great for accessing study materials. I also email writers of journal articles to ask if they have anything else in the pipeline, and have found academics very happy to share. Membership of AoM, ILA, ResearchGate and Academia.edu are great for contacting other academics.

My research habits are to gather as many resources as I can, as early as I can. If I need to order a book from an overseas university library, it might take two or three months to come. That means I need to do my due diligence as early as possible, in order to be best prepared. As I am about to embark on a PhD, my ability to find good quality research materials is more important than ever.

I use Google Scholar and Google extensively, as well as ERIC (Education Resources Information Center at http://eric.ed.gov/), the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/) and the Open Library (https://openlibrary.org/), my own institution's library databases (though I loathe their fragmented and time-intensive nature - no pan-database database, if you will), and Gale's Opposing Viewpoints database (http://solutions.cengage.com/InContext/Opposing-Viewpoints/).

I am also lucky enough to have access to the Ministry of Education's library through the Career Development Association of New Zealand. The MoE's library (https://library.education.govt.nz/) is excellent, and they also possess a "OneSearch" function which searches nearly everything that they hold, all at once. They have an almost pan-database database, avoiding that up and down time-consuming database by database search.

I keep everything in softcopy so it is searchable: but that is a topic for a future post.

I thankful for those lecturers and professors who encouraged me to reach out to others, because they helped me to build good networks and strong research skills.


Sam