Throughout your research you will gather significant amounts of information. In ‘Information Literacy Education for PhD Students – a case study’ (Pilerot, 2004), PhD students outlined how hard it was to analyse, order, put into a form and use their research information.
Techniques used to extract ideas can help you to analyse and then add some sort of form to your individualised gathering of information. of. For example, you could have a go at brainstorming and ustilising the outcome to form relevant groups by which to bring about an order to your gathering of personal information.
Information can be put into order by the use of Bibliographic software packages and desktop search engines.
Bibliographic software packages
These software packages go a long way to assist in the analysing the huge volume of information that you will access during the research process. Bibliographic software can be used to order references, make notes on them, organise quotations or make reading lists.
There is quite a variety of software packages available to purchase. This is a list of some of those available.
- Reference Manager
Adept Scientific, the business that issues licenses to EndNote, ProCite and Reference Manager, and RefViz. Database search results can be viewed visually with RefViz software package and this performs the roll of providing a visual document whose foundation is built upon a complete text study of the database results. This may be of particular use useful when dealing with massive of references and/or when forming links between various features of your study topic. RefViz provides a 30-day trial version of the software.
Using bibliographic software
Taking some time to learn about Bibliographic software will reveal features that do more than simply hording and writing down references and have some quite functional characteristics.
When making notes it’s useful to include relevant quotations as well. You might wish to have a large number of entries for a specific point, one for each quotation you have shown an interest in. Additionally, with the inclusion of specific topic keywords. you can then organise your database to select out some relevant quotations on a particular subject. It is worthwhile storing a list of the terms you often use, so you can follow a pattern as to how you are going to utillise them. You could also utilise the notes store to include your comments on a specific reference, which could assist you to analyse its use value to your research that could take place later. To be able to see this information in a printed bibliography you will know the right bibliographic style, or perhaps change the current bibliographic style. Information on the the to undertake this will be different depending which bibliographic package you are utilising, so use the help file if you intend to study this particular item.
Desktop search engines
On your own computer desktop there are some great search engine tools that can assist in the extracting of information and they are kept in a various formats (e.g. email, word files, recently viewed web pages). Included in these search engines are:
- Google Desktop