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SECC504 Research & Project Methods. Establishing the Baseline: Technology Reviews and Literature Searches Professor Julian Newman. To Cover in this Lecture. What is “the Baseline”? Search techniques Managing the search Keeping a Journal Managing the results of searches

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Secc504 research project methods

SECC504Research & Project Methods

Establishing the Baseline: Technology Reviews and Literature Searches

Professor Julian Newman

To cover in this lecture
To Cover in this Lecture

  • What is “the Baseline”?

  • Search techniques

  • Managing the search

    • Keeping a Journal

  • Managing the results of searches

    • Keeping Bibliographic Records

What is the baseline
What is “the Baseline”?

  • “The Baseline” refers to the starting point of the work

    • The existing knowledge on which you are going to build (Literature Review)

    • The available techniques / techno-logies that could be used to solve your problem (Technology Assessment)

Baseline and project definition
Baseline and Project Definition

  • Project Definition is likely to follow an initial literature search and technology assessment.

  • Baseline is likely to be addressed twice: once in preparing the proposal, and again in more detail during the early stages of the project.

Baseline in example objectives
Baseline in Example Objectives

  • Objectives (from a previous MSc):

    • 1. To identify, from the published literature, potentially suitable HCI guidelines, applicable to PDA presentation of newspapers.

    • 2. To use these guidelines in an HCI evaluation of presentation provided by the existing services (Roundpoint and AvantGo).

    • 3. To develop a model or template of HCI guidelines and practices for newspaper presentations on PDAs based on (1) and (2) above.

  • The guidelines established in (1) may be regarded as a baseline for the research.

Search techniques 1
Search Techniques (1)

  • Bibliographic and General Web Searches

    • Bibliographic searches: use WoK, ProQuest, Google Scholar, ACM Digital Library, etc; also GCU OPAC, Serials Solutions, COPAC

    • General web searches: use Google and other search engines

  • Searching for Literature and Technology

    • Literature Review: Mainly Bibliographic search

    • Technology review: Mainly General web search

  • We can search using

    • Keywords and search terms

    • Search terms constructed with AND, OR, NOT

    • Linkages

      • References / Citations

      • Hyperlinks

Search techniques 2
Search Techniques (2)

  • Keywords and search terms

    • Can narrow down our search to what is relevant

    • But it is often hard to guess the relevant word/term

    • Words can often have multiple meanings so that we retrieve a large number of irrelevant “hits”

    • Can refine search by trial and error, or search within results (e.g. in Google)

    • Published literature, blogs, wikis etc can give us ideas for search terms and keywords

  • Using Linkages in the published literature and between web sites

    • Web sites are designed to use hypertext links. Depending on site design, this can lead us to other useful pages.

    • Published literature cites and is cited by other literature. Modern Citation Indexes turn these into web links.

Search techniques 3
Search Techniques (3)

  • Using Citation Indexes will be covered in a Self Study Lab exercise, particularly with reference to Web of Science aka Web of Knowledge - found at

  • Web of Science concentrates on Journal literature (i.e. scientific/professional periodicals). WoK also has index of Conference Proceedings – but that does not support search for Citing sources

  • For Computing and Design topics it is often necessary to look also at other sources for up to date information

  • There are various online bibliographies that can help with specialised areas – depend on volunteers to keep them up to date

Search techniques 4
Search Techniques (4)

  • If you know a group or individual is working in your area, check their website for publication details

  • Standards bodies (e.g. OASIS-Open, W3C, etc), consultants and vendors have useful websites

  • Publishers’ web sites and Amazon can be useful in identifying new book publications

  • Get to know the web in your area: Google may take you to specific page – but you should also note the nature of the site, and possibly book-mark it (add to “favourites”) and take note of it.

Managing the search
Managing the Search

  • Cut off a line of search when results are becoming irrelevant / not “cost-effective”

  • Keep a Journal

    • Daily record of design, research, development activities

    • How you found the items you have identified in your search

    • Citation Graphs to record searches in Citation Indexes

    • Other visual representation e.g. spider diagrams

    • Your reflections on search techniques / problems

    • Later, add design & implementation ideas, etc

  • Ask specialist librarians for help:

    • Eileen McKee

    • Joe Fodey

Managing search results 1
Managing Search Results (1)

  • Whether an item has been found using bibliographic tools, general web searches, or in any other way, keep as much information as possible about what it is and how and when you found it.

  • If it is a journal paper, a book or a chapter in a book, make sure you have the full publication details needed to reference it.

  • If it is a web page, be sure you have the full URL, and note the date when you accessed it.

Managing search results 2
Managing Search Results (2)

  • Use a paper or electronic form to record all the details of bibliographic items. You may want to use an online reference management service – if you are sure you’ll be able to access it whenever needed! Or you could use EndNote on own laptop/PC.

  • Note class mark and shelving details for print items in library. If it is in several libraries, note these details for all of the libraries to which you have access.

  • If you take a printout of a downloaded paper, make sure to enter the full bibliographic or web access details at the head of the paper, if they are not already printed there.

  • You may want to keep more information than you will need to put in references, but never less!

  • Some useful ideas are in Orna, E (1995) Managing Information for Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.