| Academic Paper Support Book: Start here 【Web edition】
(Released: 2014.3.31, Last updated: 2018.11.5)
Searching for prior research
There are resources such as academic journals, books, theses, newspaper articles, statistics, and
conference proceedings, to conduct prior research investigation and checking research trends when writing reports
and academic papers.
There are search tools (databases) depending on the type of material or research area, and
the objective of your search. If you make use of the tools, you will be able to pick up necessary information from the
masses of materials effectively.
However, databases are not almighty. There are also other ways to find materials such as looking through the
reference list at the end of a paper, browsing the bookshelves, and reading the table of contents of a
magazine. There are merits to each alternative which databases do not have.
◆Merits of using databases
◆Merits of searching through the references at the end of papers
- A database enables search through enormous amounts of data at once.
- You can narrow down results by filters.
(ex: limiting results to documents published between 2001 and 2010)
- They are designed to make searches for papers easier.
(ex: relevant keywords attached to each paper)
◆Merits of browsing bookshelves and skimming through the table of contents of journals
- This is a list of papers chosen by the author of the paper that you were interested in (or was given to you from your advisor), and making use of the list eliminates the process of looking for papers from scratch.
- You can find major papers that you should read on the theme.
Although academic information are progressively being made electronic, there is still information that is
available only on printed materials. Keep in mind that the resources outside of the Web may have the information you are looking for.
- You can see books and papers of the same field at a glance, and find literature that is not on databases.
- You can take a look at the contents on the spot.