Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Research


We interrupt my series on Speed Reading for Fun and Entertainment because:
  1. Back when I used to teach my speed reading class, this interweb thingie wasn't around (much). So now I have a whole pile of research that says what I was taught about subvocalization is BS, and another whole pile of research that says what I was taught is correct. I'm still wading through it. About the only conclusion I have garnered is the subvocalization article on Wikipedia is a terrible article.
  2. For the last three days, snot has replaced my brain, and I can't think. Ha.
As soon as I figure it out, I'll post here!

This leads me to an interesting question for our readers. How do you go about research? I use these things (in order of frequency):
  • Google query
  • Bing query
  • Wikipedia
  • Amazon.com
  • Library
  • Gartner (research for work)
  • Forrester (same)
  • images.google query (try it, the visual aspect of research leads to interesting results)
  • YouTube
  • Independent sources
  • Observation
  • Email plea
Google and Bing are very helpful, as they will search Amazon and YouTube for me, for example. But there still is no substitute for a carefully formulated query directly in the system you want output from. For example, querying Wikipedia directly rather than using Google yields optimal results, because Google has its own formula for query results that doesn't necessarily favor Wikipedia.

Now, as a paid researcher (if you think that is cool... it is), I can find things simply because I've spend an absurd amount of time querying on various topics for my clients. Practice makes perfect, and all of that.

But it gets kind of lonely. The most fun---and sometimes the best---results are when I talk directly to an expert in the subject I am investigating.

What do you use in researching a topic?

4 comments:

  1. It depends very much on the topic. Anything remotely academic looking is going to get the library treatment first, or a wander through the resources of the National Archives or International Medieval Bulletin.

    Everything else, I throw an assortment of search engines at.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Google (and sub-species of it... Google Scholar, Google Maps, Google Images, etc), Wikipedia.

    That covers most of the general info and fact checking. Otherwise Amazon, some tech sites and appeals to Twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Google is my bread & butter, though perhaps one day I will try Bing.

    My aversion to Wikipedia is strong. Perhaps the constant barrage "WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A CREDIBLE SOURCE!" jarred my vision, but I cannot make myself go there.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hiya Blame,

    I use Wikipedia to follow the links to other online sources, mostly.

    It's good, but prone to error.

    ReplyDelete

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