Hitting Research Gold

Posted on February 11,2012 by sskeenmspp

Most MSPP students seem to be pretty tech savvy; almost all of us have laptops, many of us use smartphones, and we do the vast majority of our research online. This means that instead of perusing the shelves or card catalogues at the school’s library, we’re more likely to browse through online databases, (which MSPP subscribes to), from the comfort of our living rooms. I was never quite able to master the Dewey Decimal System, and I can never find anything on a shelf (just ask my wife, she has a million stories of critical groceries that I was unable to find at the supermarket), so I love digital research.

Yet, in a way, it’s almost too easy to find sources. If I type in a few key words into a database search, I’ll have access to hundreds of related articles. I generally save many of these to my hard drive, and then I am left to comb through the many articles and weed out unhelpful information. This can be tedious.

Every now and then, I hit pay dirt, and I find a really useful article. Today, I am happy to report that I found one for my literature review. Finding one very relevant source often has a snowball effect; after reading it, one can find much more useful information by looking up the references listed at the end of the paper.

I hate doing research with a fiery passion, so it feels great to have this one in the bag! I even forced myself to take the time to write up a few pages of quotations and notes from the article. Of course, this is just one tiny part of my lit review, but still, it’s nice to savor this bit of progress for a moment.

I’m going to continue doing research today for as long as I can stand to, but I’ve been at it for a few hours, and now that I’ve made some progress I feel comfortable taking a break. My wife and I just ordered a pizza, and our favorite hockey team, (the Philadelphia Flyers…duh), are playing a critical game against the New York Rangers, our division rivals and the least evolved known form of human life. Time to have some fun!