Finding Sources You Can Trust
As the diagram indicates:
- an idea first arises in the mind of a researcher or a group of researchers
- the idea is then developed further over a few years of research.
- It is then probably discussed informally in the Invisible College
- which is the set of colleagues interested in and expert on a particular subject.
- this kind of informal discussion may occur at seminars, at conferences, through mail or e-mail or on electronic newsgroups.
- A somewhat more formal stageis reached when the ideas
- are presented at conferences that do not have published proceedings
- An even more formal stageis when the ideas
- are published as preprints or technical reports through the author's university department.
- The next stage is publication in the primary literature
- either as an article in a journal OR
- as a paper in a published conference proceedings;
- these 2 forms of publication are called the primary literarture, since they are the most easily available, yet detailed record of the research.
- The next stage is a description of the research in the secondary literature,
- for example, abstracts and indexes, or review journals
- which essentially summarize and point at the primary literature very soon after it has appeared;
- the main purpose of this secondary literature is to facilitate access to scientific information soon after it has been published.
- The final stage is a description of the research in the tertiary literature,
- which also summarizes and points to the primary literature,
- but generally only after it has become widely accepted and believed.
- examples of tertiary literature include: handbooks, encyclopaedias, and textbooks
Note that monographs (also called books) straddle the last two stages. This is because some monographs or books point only to well accepted scientific research, and other monographs point also to scientific research that is still being evaluated.
What kinds of document do scientists and engineers use
- Peer review: researchers validating each others work before publication
- Kinds of documents:
- patents: government granted license to an invention
- standards: agreed upon methodology: ie 802.11
- journals: research results presented in a periodical/magazine. Peer reviewed.
- trade literature: discipline-specific magazines. Not Peer Reviewed.
- popular press: regular newspapers, magazines, websites. Not peer reviewed.
- conference proceedings: research results presented at a meeting. Often peer reviewed, but not always.
- technical report: description of a solution to a specific problem. Not peer reviewed.
- reference: encyclopedias, tables, data collections, properties
- manuals: lab methods, programming languages, operating systems
- monographs: general topics
- technical specifications: how a system, device or component works, ie circuit diagrams, software package
(Flow of Scientific Information, University of Waterloo, 2007)
Topics & Keywords
My research topic: Are local foods better for the environment? The idea of food miles or carbon foot print of foods that have to travel long distances versus local foods.
How to generate keywords & genergal knowledge? Try wikipedia!
How to think about Wikipedia and research?
- Good place to start, not a good place to finish
- Source of general knowledge & vocabulary
- Can also find links to good sources
Some useful search terms
- carbon footprint
- ecological footprint
- local foods
- 100 mile diet
- food miles
- food security
- embodied energy
- food and climate change
- worst foods for climate change: beef? cheese?
There is a fair bit of literature dealing with these issues for Canada and even Toronto.
Other possible plan B or C topics: ground penetrating radar used for locating landmines // navigation system for self-driving cars.
Academic Integrity & Plagiarism
Finding Articles & Other Information
Footprint Calculators & Other Interesting Sites
Some footprint calculators:
- Food Carbon Emissions Calculator
- Eat Low Carbon
- Nature Conservancy
- Carbon Footprint Calculator
- US EPA
- Lifestyle Carbon Calculator
- Flight Emissions Calculator
- Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
- Environment Canada Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Emissions and Criteria Air Contaminants (CAC) Calculator
- Environment Canada list of calculators & other helpful tools
- Water Consumption Calculator
Some Recommended Links