Collecting sources

Front matter

  • Yesterday we conferenced about your final project proposals. You were to revise them for today. Let’s take a moment to share these in class. Although I will pull up your blog so we can see your revision, take a moment to look at it now and jot down some informal notes about the gist of your project, especially your strategy, examples or cases, and what you’re hoping to learn from it. Then, try to talk about your project without looking at any texts.
  • Today you’ll learn about how to use effective search strategies and be introduced to 2 helpful tools for collecting sources and reading.

Effective re/search strategies

  • Searching using multiple keywords and multiple sites.
  • Using Cornell’s Library and ILL (Sarah T. Roberts example)
  • Using Google Scholar.
  • Build from the 3 moves introduced in the first unit: looking at previous work (Wikipedia & Google News), going upstream (following footnotes in “Dead Reckoning”), and reading laterally (checking to see if the sources you’re finding are legit).

Collecting sources with Pocket and Zotero

As we learned from the second unit, reading online is fundamentally different than other kinds of reading, especially as we have grown to become more mobile with our devices. Moreover, as you conduct research for a variety of simultaneous complex projects, it can be challenging to stay organized. Hence, I want to introduce you to two apps that help manage reading and tracking multiple sources for multiple projects, both of which have Chrome extensions.

Pocket. Pocket is a read-it-later or online bookmarking service (like Instapaper) that allows you to save readings as you browse the web or social media feeds. I often save readings my friends share on Twitter or Facebook to Pocket and read it at a more convenient time. Pocket also allows you to tag and archive readings, making it handy for organizing readings for reuse. Perhaps best of all Pocket makes apps for Mac, iOS, and other devices so you can read archived articles on your laptop, phone, or tablet.

Zotero. Zotero is a bibliography manager capable of curating, tracking, and sharing citations. Like Pocket, you can save readings, but unlike Pocket, Zotero will keep track of bibliographic info (authors, titles, years, publishers, etc.). To get started with Zotero on your own machine, you’ll need to make an account in Zotero, and download both Zotero Connector (for Chrome) and Zotero 5.0 (the desktop application) to your laptop.

Activity: Create an account in Zotero and install both the extension for Chrome and the app for your machine. Then, go back to the sources you’ve collected so far and add them to a folder for your project. Once you’re done, practice some of the research skills we discussed earlier and find additional sources to add.

Homework for Friday

  • Find and skim 3-4 sources about your strategy; add them to your Zotero collection.
  • One of your sources must be a short, credible, and accessible reading you’ll share with the class. This reading will ideally get at the most interesting aspect of your project: the specific problem, the strategy itself, and/or challenges to implementing the strategy. This should be a reading that any of us will understand given our course focus and something we can read in 5-7 min (~1,000-1,500 words).
  • We’ll share these short readings as links in a Google Doc, read them, and hear how they connect to your project.