Research is so important for verification of facts and clarity about any topic one may have. It does allow for better decision making and more knowledge. One example is this - I have dabbled in online marketing and still write for an ezine for my own love of writing, and a passive income (google adsense money). I had to research any SEO or affiliate masters teaching how-to courses before I was about to pay a fee for their services. Initially I made some mistakes, eventually I came to trust a few, and joined their classes, and gained a wealth of knowledge and practice. Now my research is usually for an article that I am going to write or for the illusive "keyword" necessary to make an income if writing for adsense money or a certain retailer, etc. I have learned many ways to look for keywords, and am always open to learning more research tools.
Article writing is non-fiction and always needs a bibliography whether it is from the internet or not. Reference sources are vital, and how to find them and cite them often takes some research. A wonderful outcome is finding different perspectives which broadens the knowledge base and increases facts. Whether I write the article or not, I have gained a wider understanding of the topic. I spend a lot of time researching before I write, although this is my "private" job, I have another outside, paid job of part-time librarian.
I have to research daily - for items a patron wants that we may not carry. I am limited to the software used for our library, or referring to Amazon when a patron forgets the title. This still takes some learning - how to use the system, and other ways of researching within the system. I have to say that I need refreshment on the research, and it is always a challenge worth pursuing. I would say that research is a large part of my life presently - between library and writing.
My house is on the market so I am always researching rentals to move into. This economic climate really makes it a challenge since the online places to look are more plentiful than the newspapers. One person I know who is looking for a rental decided to drive around the area she wants to live in and check for signs. I think that is a great idea, and will incorporate in my search. I try to leam more ways of research by just sharing with others. Even reading local bulletin boards helps.
Different Libraries for Research
1) Academic libraries are often tied into schools, universities and businesses that specialize in something, like law. Some law firms have their own law libraries, as do law schools. Medical libraries are found at medical schools and sometimes at hospitals. The library items would be topics related to each field, and books and possibly microfiche materials. There may be DVDs, CDs, and computer catalogues in the academic libraries.
2) Public libraries have; non-fiction items, fiction items, juvenile and teen items, adult items, reference materials, computers for all - even early learning, CDs, DVDs, audio books, digital books that patrons only need to provide their own headphones for, hard and softcover books, books in large print, digital book readers, and headphones for early learner computers. There may be a copier/scanner machine, a fax machine, and a literacy section that even specializes in a language, like Spanish.
3) Miscellaneous libraries are usually found in your surrounding area at a company, like Disney. The Disney library probably has films in different formats, like DVDs or old fashioned reel films. There may be books and memorabilia as well. Another example of a miscellaneous library is an electric company. One could probably find statistical reports, financial records, geological maps, etc.
4) School libraries are usually found in public and private schools. They have fiction and nonfiction books, DVDs, CDs, dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, and computers. All items are separated for grade level appropriateness. Some elementary level items may include puppets, puzzles, and or alternative language items - like Spanish (in all school levels).
Dictionaries for Research
A dictionary contains a vast amount of information about the words and language it is in. So, when doing research it is a great idea to look up a word to see if the meaning addresses the subject of the research, or answers questions. If the topic is very complicated then the meaning given in the dictionary may be a simple way to start from. Scientific words and phrases can be hard to explain so the meaning is a way to clarify those words. Often it is hard to stay with a main point so a difficult concept can be made clear if the words from the meaning are used to describe whatever point needs to be made. A bonus for looking up meanings is that it can show other ways to research the topic.
To research a certain topic, the dictionary meaning can reveal numerous meanings which will help narrow or enhance the research. I especially enjoy finding the history of a word because it helps me and the reader to a deeper understanding of the topic. Often I look up a word that I don't know and find it can be a great resource for my topic. Unfamiliar words can also point to alternative ways for research. Most important is knowing if the word is a noun or a verb so it can be used correctly in a sentence, then other words used in the meaning can be used in the same sentence if needed.
Dictionaries can be found online as well as in print. Here are some that are good:
- Dictionary Reference, dictionary.reference.com
- Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com (I love the printed collegiate editions)
- Your Dictionary, www.yourdictionary.com
These are but a few examples of what you need to find what you want for research. Primary sources like the libraries listed, and dictionary use will steer you in the right direction for your next article, speech, poem, or whatever you need to do research for.