Searching for external data

The complexity of the search operation will very much depend on the type of data that is sought. Where specific data are sought, the search may be quite narrow and of short duration. The researcher may often be unaware of specific information sources so it is important to undertake the search in an organised and systematic manner.

In the course of searching for information, the use of indexes, abstracts, directories and other available guides is helpful. You need to appreciate the difference between an abstract and an index. Whereas an abstract presents the basic contents of a publication in a few lines, an index presents only the minimum of data about the publication: author, publisher, date of publication and so on. Today collections of abstracts may be searched for electronically on CD-ROM disks or the Internet and saved to a floppy disk or hard disk file. Since the stored information is in ASCII format, these files may subsequently be read into word processors or databases for further analysis or exploration.

The starting point in reviewing secondary data is to make sure that you have correctly identified the topic on which you need information. This first involves listing all the possible categories or headings under which the topic might be discussed by other researchers or authors. It is a good idea to make the topics fairly wide ranging in the first instance so that important aspects are not overlooked. Once these headings have been established, attention can then be turned to aids that will point you in the right direction.

First, you should ascertain whether a bibliography on the subject already exists. A publication called Bibliographies Index: A cumulative bibliography of bibliographies, published by the HH Wilson Company, New York, is a useful starting point. This publication lists various books, periodicals and other publications that are relevant to topics that have been identified. The British National Bibliography has been published since 1950 and is generally available for consultation in public libraries. There are cumulative volumes and it is advisable to use the index which will list terms or topics you may not have considered. Most academic libraries have a wide range of bibliographies and indexes that cover major fields of study. If the subject is unique a bibliography may not exist. In this case, you will need to construct a bibliography for yourself.

ABSTRACT AVAILABLE ON CD-ROM - PERMITTING ELECTRONIC SEARCHES OF THOUSANDS OF ABSTRACTS

Access No: 01075313 ProQuest ABI/INFORM (R) Research

Title:

Authors:

Journal:

Breaking away Selwyn, Padi

Successful Meetings [SMM] ISSN: 0148-4052 Vol: 44 Iss: 9 Date: Aug 1995 pp: 79-83

Reprint: Contact UMI for article reprint (order no. 9753.02)

Restrictions may apply Subjects: Business community; Meetings; Planning; Creativity; Success Geo Places: US

Codes: 9190 (United States); 2310 (Planning); 2200 (Managerial skills)

Abstract: A 1993 Porter/Novelli survey of 100 Fortune 500 executives revealed that creativity is the most important element for business success. Six tips to help meetings planners to enhance their own and others' creativity are offered: 1. Open your mind. 2. Diversify. 3. Clear your mind for each day. 4. Stop looking for the right answer. 5. Discover your creative rhythm. 6. Health makes wealth.

Specific sources of information include books, periodicals, newspapers, government information, directories, and statistics and information stored for use with a computer. Many different aids can help you find information that is most appropriate to your needs. However, remember that the availability and comprehensiveness of these aids varies from country to country. For example, while there is a vast amount of aids available in the USA for such purposes their relevance to the needs of researchers in, say, Europe is not always guaranteed.

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