Overblog Follow this blog
Edit post Administration Create my blog
September 7 2011 4 07 /09 /September /2011 05:46

Gathering information entails skill, practice, patience, and perseverance. It is the Google Search Mechanism, which is the most universally popular and most accessed search engine, that will be mainly referred to here, but the search methods apply to countless levels of obtaining information. The Internet has undoubtedly revolutionized searching for information whereby tapping information is easier and faster than in the past traditional library search era. Google search tools include the general Web pages, Book pages, Blog pages, Scholar pages, News pages, Image pages, Video pages, and additional ("More") pages, etc.

When searching, on the web pages, placing the plus (+) sign at the beginning of the term you are searching for, helps yield more specific results. For example, if you are researching on Sargeant Shriver, entering "+Sargeant +Shriver" will, for example, deliver more specific information on this person than entering "Sargeant Shriver" or "+Sargeant Shriver" "Shriver" or "+Shriver." Certainly, many people carry the names Sargeant and Shriver, the plus signs at the beginning of the word or term reduce on the time and effort on your search. If you are searching for a much less common word or term like "Lugolugenyi," you need not go into specifying the term using a plus sign. But terms like, "John," "Charles," "Kennedy," "wilderness," "Carter," "environment," "pressure," "Churchill," etc. are so common that the search ought to employ ways to gather more specific results. Certainly, a good researcher cultivates a highly creative mind. The more complex and less common the word or term, the higher the likelihood of achieving accurate hits. Also, keep in mind that many terms that may yield valuable information may have been misspelt. For example, the name John Akii-Bua has sometimes been misspelled as John Akii-Buwa, John Aki-Bua, or John Aki-Buwa. Logically, one should search all these terms, and also discover other terms that will yield more information about the person. Some literature lists "Charles" as one of his names. A good researcher hence ought to be imaginative and flexible, in addition to being creative.

Also, continue searching. The end of an academic program or a written article is not really the end. You ought to keep harvesting the ongoing changes and the new information that continuously appears. Keep reading and updating, and latch on to new and more efficient methods of harvesting information. The world is one of new discoveries made, and more information uncovered on and off the Internet, every minute. This is not a static gloomy world! Reading what you have written gives others the opportunity to review, correct, or provide additional information that is to your advantage. Continuously reading broadens your horizon as regards knowledge, vocabulary and grammar; enabling you to continuously efficiently express yourself in faster and more accurate ways. As the saying goes, "practice makes perfect."

Having too many misspelled words in your work reduces your credibility. Misspellings are as counterproductive as poor grammar. Fortunately, spelling check boxes are ubiquitous on the Internet. They make writing much easier. However the misspelling checks only help. If you type a word "their" instead of "there," the spelling tool will not catch that mistake. The grammar check tools on the Internet also help, but they cannot be expected to be 100% accurate. But they largely help in offering suggestions and hinting at you to weigh in on and consider changing your sentence structure. In many cases both the spelling and grammar check tools are intertwined in the spell-check tool.

Beware of over quoting. It may seem that borrowing lengthy phrases from other sources gives you a lot more credibility. However, doing this dilutes the creativity and originality of your writing, it makes you look like a copy-cat. Quote just a few words or sentences from any source; quote the minimum of what is relevant to and reinforces your point; cut out the irrelevant and superfluous words from the quotes. Also, by copyright law, if you write a book that has quoted or used more than 500 words from other documents, you are required to seek approval from the author or publisher of the borrowed source. The sin of plagiarism is surely much worse than over quoting. Plagiarism involves "stealing" other people's written sources and attributing them to yourself. Putting other people's creative works under your name reduces your credibility, is unfair to the original writer, and in the worst case scenarios can be sued, stripped of your academic credentials, and even fired. In March 2011, faced with protests by academicians and the public, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned after it was discovered that he had plagiarized passages in his doctoral dissertation.

Many books, journals, newspapers, and magazines are printed entirely or partially in this section. The ones that are older and therefore less under intellectual property protection (e.g., 75 years or older in print) are the most likely to be readily available online. However, many quite recent texts are available, free-of-charge, in the book pages. A competent researcher ought to go beyond the general web pages, and into and beyond the book pages. This is an age of digitizing texts, and Google progressively gets better at presenting them, and progressively adds more text pages. Many of the texts in the book pages are quite old and invaluable, but are hard to and take long to obtain through the conventional library and inter-library loan system. On the google book pages, the information is readily available after just a few keyboard strokes. The researcher and the student saves quite a chunk of time and money by taking advantage of digitized book texts. Full or partial texts are also available on Amazon.com

The blog entries can yield more valuable information beyond the web and book text pages. But the researcher ought to be judicious here given that many blog entries are plagiarized or scrambled words. Many steal other's Internet work to build up their's just for fun, to build up their credibility, or even for generating traffic for publicity and commercial gain. Look for blog entries that appear to be genuine or are contributed by regular bloggers under their author names. Notwithstanding, blogs often yield a lot of well researched entries and they offer many ideas and direction.

The image and more so the video button tell a lot more of the story at visual glance. Google contains entries from such popular sites as You-Tube, many invaluable films gathered by professional or regular people. Many sports competitions are available under Google videos, such that you can tell your own story based on what you visualize. Images are invaluable in aspects like science and art, where pictures and diagrams are important. Billions of picture images are available online. Where relevant, do not forget to also click the image, and also the videos button. Some of the results yielded may not be directly relevant to what you are looking for, but might only be linked to a website that contains some of the information. Google recently added an exclusive You-Tube video website. The aphorisms, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and "the camera never lies," largely hold true. Picture and video images also enhance one's ability to tell his or her story and assess the situation in his or her unique way.

Listing these at the end of the written article, in a consistent and orderly format, gives much more credibility to your work. This is as important as correct grammar and spelling. An article that has references essentially becomes a scholarly article. Many academic and public articles can require prescribed formats. These are many, and some of the popular format styles are the APA (American Psychological Association), CSE (Council of Science Editors), Chicago, MLA (Modern Language Style), the Turabian Style, and the AAA (American Anthropological Association) styles. Listing bibliographies and references, and quoting sources in prescribed sources can be quite irritating; but after minimal practice and familiarization it will not be much of an issue. Ultimately the final product looks neat, and appears as a written piece from a credible and disciplined source.

The traditional library will always be a powerful information powerhouse, even though the Internet has made it less relevant. Interlibrary loan services allow for books and other documents not available at the local public library to be transported from other public and college libraries in the nation. There are billions of documents that are not on the Internet. Aside from libraries, government and private agencies house countless forms of information. Oral literature and information, the spoken word that is from people themselves can be credible and relevant. Any information gathered is best credible when it is cross-checked with other sources of information. Information is endless and is eternally being created.





Jonathan Musere

Share this post

Repost 0
Published by Jonathan Musere
write a comment