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My Own Research, Background Information:

Library research will provide several sources of information of value. Books are still a wonderful source of information. It generally takes longer for new information to find acceptance into the field and into the books of the field. However, good solid information on our understanding of the natural world presented in books, may be new to you. Books help create a fundamental understanding of your research area and provide a wide view of our understanding of the natural world. There are also a standardized protocol books, which are very useful.

Libraries have always been storage areas for information; the first place to locate background information. Libraries of the past consisted of huge volumes of information mainly in the form of books, periodicals and at times microfiche.  The researcher collecting information could only use a card catalog and indexes like the Reader’s Guide to Periodicals as guides to locate information.  Much of the researcher’s time was spent pouring through the card catalog, writing location numbers for books that might contain useful information, and the searching the rows of stacks often resulting in finding that the book or        magazine had already been checked out.  This process was time consuming. 

With the explosion of the information age, it became apparent that the former view of libraries had to change.  Card catalogs have been replaced with computer terminals.  The researcher is no longer confined to the walls of the library.  The Internet and CD-ROM technology have made it possible to store much more information and in greater depth than ever thought possible as well as provide immediate access to sources throughout the world. 

Techniques of using the library as a tool have to be adjusted to the new technology, but are basically the same.  At times in the past, the researcher looked to a librarian as a source of assistance when the catalog and guides were not useful.  Librarians were seen as someone who knew every bit of the library and was a source for locating information.  Today, with so much    information available, it is impossible for the librarian to know where all of the information is located.  The role of the librarian is now of assistance in search techniques as well as in the use of the technology.  In the past, researchers often found vital information in a book located near the one originally sought.  Good researchers looked at surrounding shelves for information                because libraries organized books by discipline.  With the explosion of information, research techniques and questions have become more global in nature.  The researcher now is able to focus the search on the research question, not just the area of discipline of the question.  Even though this new technology brings new search techniques and more access, researchers still  need the skills for locating information using card catalogs and other guides are still necessary. 

Internet searches are also valuable but remember, always evaluate the source of the information and determine how reliable that source is for information. There are several internet search engines that do metasearches (using several search engines at once). They are not necessarily better at finding specific information than individual search engines but they cast a very wide "net" . One of these metasearch engines is called Profusion. The trick to finding information using any search engines is to try several terms related to your research questions, and to try combination of terms. Here are some links to some search engines on the Internet.

Alta Vista

Webcrawler

Lycos

Yahoo

Hotbot

Profusion

 

Additional information on research sources and writing a Background Information section.

Another source of information to review is the collection of material that other KanCRN participants have found and posted for you here. KanCRN is a community of people working together and those working in this area before you have left "tracks" for you to follow. If you find additional information that will help others following you, post it on-line using the form below. It is important to help the KanCRN community build this valuable resource to our research community. A community is only sustainable if members contribute as much as they use!

Click on a link to read the information that others have found or type in new information below.



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