Searching is Strategic Exploration.
I have undertaken numerous systematic searches through various types of literature such as books, journals, and websites. Before engaging in the search, I break down the process into steps. The first step involves clarifying the research question. This tells me what to search for and the keywords to use. While choosing the keywords I pay attention to the terminology used in the field of study. While identifying keywords I also write down synonyms that can help generate relevant results.
The second step is to identify where to conduct the search. Having written down the keywords, I enter them in several electronic databases that include the school library and internet databases such as google scholar and EBSCOhost.
The next step involves evaluating the literature I find in these databases to determine if they are relevant and up to standard. Often, I do this by reading the abstracts to check if the information provided in the literature is relevant for my research. At this point, I also check the credibility of the material by looking at the information about the author to find out if they have expertise in the field. I also check the methodology used in the research to find out whether it meets the right standards. Finally, I check the sources and evidence used by the authors and whether is credible. This involves checking if the works cited are referenced properly. Lastly, after identifying relevant literature I read them and organize the information I have found.
I have had success in the past using this process. Following this process saves me time and helps me find relevant literature easily and quickly. However, I have also experienced challenges in the past while searching for literature even when I follow the above steps. The first challenge I experience is getting thousands of results that it becomes difficult to narrow down to a few literature sources that I need for my research. Since searching for information is nonlinear, I find myself confronted by a wide range of sources. To narrow down the results to fewer sources I use filters such as custom range, and the field of study. However, even then, the results can be overwhelming and am tasked with reading the abstract and skimming through the sources that have most of the keywords I entered to determine if they are relevant for my research. Additionally, as the research progresses and I gain new understanding, I need to pursue alternate sources develops. Therefore, searching requires mental flexibility. Moreover, the literature search tested my mental flexibility
In the course of my research, I also realized that there are other alternative credible sources that I use for my research other than peer-reviewed journals. Such sources include government websites, and websites for recognized and credible research bodies such as WHO, NIH, FAO, and UN. Such websites contain information written by experts in the relevant field. Moreover, the information posted on these websites is first reviewed to determine its credibility. Most of the information found in the mentioned websites are primary data that has been collected from first-hand sources using interviews, surveys, experiments, questionnaire and other methods of collecting primary data.
However, it is important to study alternative sources to see if theinformation presented is objective or subjective. Sources that presents the opinion of the author are not suitable for use in research. Information that contains hate should be shunned.
In conclusion, searching needs patience, mental flexibility, ability to study diverse literature and the willingness to read the information even if one does not agree with it. Researchers also need to know various databases where they can access information as well as the right search process.
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