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10 Tips to Avoid Information Overload


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A countdown of 10 tips on how to avoid information overload. Offering advice on filtering out the noise whilst researching for a PhD

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10 Tips to Avoid Information Overload

  1. 1. 10 Top tips for avoiding information overload
  2. 3. Summary and Objectives <ul><li>General advice, not prescriptive </li></ul><ul><li>Searching advice </li></ul><ul><li>Personalisation </li></ul><ul><li>Online bookmarking tools </li></ul><ul><li>Current awareness services </li></ul>
  3. 4. No. 10. Time <ul><li>Schedule your work </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule your down time </li></ul><ul><li>Make use of ‘dead time’ </li></ul>
  4. 5. No. 9. Distracting technology <ul><li>Telephone </li></ul><ul><li>PDAs </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Online chat </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>Construct a systematic search </li></ul><ul><li>Write a search profile </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the topic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are trying to find out…the aim? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the research question </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If it helps keep a notebook/diary </li></ul><ul><li>Think of useful keywords and synonyms </li></ul>No.8. Take control of your search
  6. 7. Example Search Profile <ul><li>Topic </li></ul><ul><li>Research Question </li></ul><ul><li>Aim of the Investigation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parameters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Place </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Languages </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords </li></ul>
  7. 8. No. 7. Discovery tools <ul><li>Fit for purpose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Date coverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publisher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Record the discovery tools that you use! </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. No. 6. Advanced search <ul><li>Further refines results </li></ul><ul><li>Applies to databases & search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Apply limiters </li></ul><ul><li>Use Boolean searching </li></ul>
  9. 10. Search techniques <ul><li>Boolean logic – (AND, OR & NOT) (University of Leicester) </li></ul><ul><li>AND will link the terms to find only articles that mention both concepts – eg: tobacco AND advertising </li></ul><ul><li>OR will broaden the search by looking for synonyms, alternative spellings, abbreviations and plurals – eg: United Nations OR UN </li></ul><ul><li>NOT can be used when you need to narrow the search by excluding certain keywords or concepts – eg: industrial action NOT fire service </li></ul>
  10. 11. No. 5. Use an aggregator <ul><li>‘ Aggregators reduce the amount of time and effort needed to regularly check web sites for updates, creating a unique information space or “newspaper”’ (Wikipedia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Pulled’ rather then ‘pushed’ </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to subscribe and unsubscribe </li></ul><ul><li>Portals or start pages e.g. igoogle, my Yahoo </li></ul>
  11. 12. No. 4. Reference Mgmt <ul><li>Use reference management software to keep track of references. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. Endnote/Refworks </li></ul><ul><li>Software will often store articles for you </li></ul>
  12. 13. No.3. Online bookmarking tool <ul><ul><li>Use a bookmarking tool. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eg., Connotea, Zotero. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student portal </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. No. 2. Personalisation <ul><li>Personal account within a preferred database. </li></ul><ul><li>Free and easy (though all have different features) </li></ul><ul><li>Saves searches, saves results </li></ul><ul><li>Runs searches for you </li></ul>
  14. 15. No. 1. Current awareness services <ul><li>Current awareness services will alert you when the latest edition of a journal is published. </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul><ul><li>RSS Feed </li></ul><ul><li>Zetoc </li></ul><ul><li>Tic Tocs </li></ul>
  15. 16. A Happy Ending!
  16. 17. Your turn <ul><li>Beginning at the Library home page set up an alert for a journal title in your field. </li></ul>
  17. 18. Thank you & Evaluation <ul><li>Thank you </li></ul><ul><li>Please complete the online evaluation form </li></ul>