Monday, July 29, 2013

No Monsters Up Front

View of Davis Library's Main Entrance around 1 PM 7.29.13
And, no monster blog posts this week.  Yes, we know last week’s installment on the Research Process was a bit a beast.  Hope we didn’t scare you off by our attempts to draw attention to all the different paths you can take when “Finding Books” through the Davis Library here at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.  

The important thing we wanted you to take away from the post was that you have lots of options.  So, if you’re having a hard time initially locating the library materials you need, please don’t panic.
There’s more way than one to tackle the information hunt.  Being flexible and asking for help when necessary will usually increase your research success.     
Now, “Why books?” is one question you may have been asking yourself when reading through last week’s installment.  Books are valuable because they often synthesize information on a single topic in support of a particular argument or thesis.  Books will give you a lot details and may also be helpful in putting a topic into context – either historically or in relationship to other important issues.
However, one of the problems with books is their currency.  The time it takes to write, edit and publish a book can be rather extensive.  Consequently, the information they contain may be somewhat dated by the time the book gets into print and/or onto a library shelf.  

Self-published books (print or electronic) may get into circulation a little quicker, but issues of reliability and credibility can be problematic since these types of works may not go through a formal editing process, which sometimes helps to improve their trustworthiness.   Again, as we’ve mentioned before evaluating information is vital to ensuring that you’re doing the best possible research.

“Finding Articles,” which will be the focus of the next few installments in our series of posts on the Research Process, will help you to locate more recent information on your topic.  A variety of types of articles are available and each of them is published at different time frames in relation to the significance of the topic or when an event occurred.  

This progression of how such information is communicated is often referred to as the “Information Cycle” or “Cycle of Information.”   Watch the video below from the Hartness Library, which serves both Vermont Tech and the Community College of Vermont, for quick overview of this cycle.

The timeliness of the information you find will play an important part in the types of works you choose to support your ideas presented in your research project.  However, dates aren’t the only factors to consider when searching for and selecting your sources.  

In our next “Finding Articles” post, we’ll be looking at how information is packaged for different audiences can also influence your decision-making.

Have questions?  Don’t hesitate to… “Ask Us!

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