Having a Wealth of Research Material at Hand

I hope that I do not sound like a wet blanket with my next comment; it is not my intention to do so. One of the skills that we must learn, as graduate students, is the ability to quickly locate appropriate reference material that leads us to making an informed, logical decision. One of the distractions of having a broad and deep reference set available to us is that we can easily be lead down a primrose path, interesting though it may be, it is still not leading us to an informed, logical conclusion.

Like the term surfing the net, which refers to one’s following hypertext references to new and unexpected destinations, just as a surfer must follow the direction and flow of an ocean wave. Although the wave surfer knows that he or she is headed in the general direction of the shoreline, the wave constantly changes height and form, yielding a dynamic environment on which to surf.

Be sure that you control your research; do not let it control you. Make an hypothesis, find supporting or contradictory data, create a conclusion, and develop a theory; stay focused.


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