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SSI2-177: The Digital Present & Our Possible Techno Futures: Conference Curation

Research Strategies

As you imaginatively create your conference line-up, you'll want to ensure a diverse and lively set of participants.  The best way to go about the research process is to use a variety of search tools, each of which has different strengths and weaknesses.  Each tool, in turn, will help you discover different types of sources.  Some of the search tools you'll need to use include:

The order in which you search these will depend on the topic and the depth of your knowledge of the subject matter.  What you want to try to identify are:

  • The names of key players (inventors, opinion makers, politicians, academic specialists, etc.) and their relevant biographical information
  • Specialized vocabulary to use in your searches
  • Any key events or milestones
  • Any important special interest groups
  • Businesses or commercial interests
  • Think tanks or policy institutes
  • Key works (academic papers, white papers, legislation, creative works, etc.)

Practice: Researching Online Education

Suppose you want to organize your conference on online education in higher education (MOOCs, online degrees, etc.).  Your search might proceed something like this:

1.  Search "online education" in Opposing Viewpoints in Context.  Browse through the sources to find out what the major debates are and who the major players are.  Supplement what you find with searches in Sage Reference Online and Wikipedia.

2.  Search Lexis-Nexis for editorials or op-ed pieces on the topic. 

3.  Search Academic Search Premier, then narrow your search to just academic journals.  What academic disciplines are investigating this topic?  Then search the subject databases for those disciplines.

3.  Search the open web for more information about the people and organizations involved.  (What information can you trust?  Use the CAARP test!)

Subject Guide

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Peggy Burge
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