Managing Information for Research

Managing Information for Research

Managing Information for Research

Managing Information for Research

Synopsis

A book for first-time researchers which addresses the problems and anxieties they themselves define as most important:
• Transforming the knowledge gained during research into written form
• Managing time
• Organizing the information they collect and create
• Transforming information from written sources into usable knowledge
• Coping with feelings of isolation and loss of confidenceStrangely enough, these problems have not so far been the main focus of any text designed to help researchers. This book makes up for the omission: it is based on experience - the experience of the author in working with students who are tackling research for the first time, and that of students themselves - and it presents the experience by way of examples from real projects. Readers have the opportunity of answering questions about their own research, and on the basis of their answers they are helped in making decisions that will help them to cope successfully with the key problems, and to deliver an end product that does justice to their efforts.

Excerpt

'Not being able to finish everything in time for deadlines.''Going
round in circles; losing perspective of what your aim is.'
'Frustration
at being unable to find “correct” information and resorting to an
irrational research pattern – randomly choosing books and using the
“luck “ element. However in some cases this has proved rather suc
cessful
since areas of irrelevance have proved otherwise.'
(Students at the end of their first term of research, on problems
they have experienced so far, and anxieties for the future).

Since the early 1980s, I have been privileged to work with students undertaking research in a variety of disciplines – most of them for the first time. My invitation to do so came from academic colleagues who knew that I specialized in writing and editing informative texts, and in 'doing things with information', and who felt that their students needed some help in that line.

I have learned a good deal in those ten years or so, most of it from the students themselves, who have been generous in sharing with me their experiences of research, and willing to trust my ideas enough to try some of them out. the outcomes have been encouraging enough to make me think it worthwhile to offer the ideas and the results of experience to a wider readership.

It seems particularly important to do so at the present time. Changes in higher education have brought more and more students into first-degree courses, and most of those courses now require some research for extended projects. But many students are finding that their previous educational experience has not prepared them either for handling the information that such projects require, or for writing about the results. More students than at any previous time are going on to research for higher degrees, but financial pressures in the system mean that they are thrown more on their own resources than has ever been the case before often with little help in taking responsibility for their own learning. Other developments in higher education are putting increased emphasis on monitoring the progress and achievement of students, and that makes it important that they should be able to plan their work and monitor their own progress.

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