Research for Regular Folks

When you’re getting ready to start a big research project like buying a car, getting back in the stock market, or learning about a health condition, it helps to add some rigor and structure to your browsing so you can be more confident about what you learn.

Research and learning are very personal processes, so it helps to know a bit about yourself and the ways you prefer to learn so that you can play to your strengths. Some people have different learning preferences when it comes to learning in general and when it comes to technology in particular–know yourself!

Whether you prefer

  • Hands on
  • Demonstration
  • Instruction
  • Big Picture
  • Memorization
  • Repetition
  • Teaching
  • Books
  • Software
  • Mentoring
  • Apprenticing

you can find resources to help you both online and off.

For people who feel confident using computers and the Web and are excited about constantly learning, there are many great online learning options.

Before you get started, make sure you have a plan to back up your data and the right security (firewall, antivirus, anti-malware) to keep you, your computer, and your information safe on the Web.

Whether you use the fabulous Common Craft videos on YouTube or rely on the subject-matter experts at About.com (a subsidiary of the New York Times Company), the Web offers many sources of information. One of the most important research-related habits you can cultivate is an attention to detail as you search, find, track, save, store, and retrieve information.

Knowing your sources, assessing their credibility, and deciding if the information they provide is valid and true will help you make better decisions about the information you find.

Managing files effectively on your computer is also an important research skill. Learn more about organizing your computer, organizing your information, and finding it again and learning with your computer in the Digital Survival for Everyone™ section of our blog.

On Friday we’ll cover some basic research concepts that will help you be more confident in what you’ve learned.