To give first-year PhD researchers a head start the Library regularly organises a training to improve general research skills. Gaudhaman and Koen really benefited from The Informed Researcher training. Here’s why:
There’s so much literature, you sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees
Gaudhaman has been a PHD researcher in Applied Sciences since December 2015. He did the Informed Researcher training quite soon after he started here in Delft and he can highly recommend the course. “The training gives you essential skills for good research, which will be very useful for the coming years. It helps you with how to search for information, how to organise your data and eventually how to publish. I now know how to search for publications more efficiently, using boolean operators and better key words. Since the training I’ve set up an RSS feed about my research area, so I’m always up to date with the latest publications. I’ve also learned how to manage my own research files in a more logical way, ensuring that I will be able to trace back data more easily.”
Ignorance is the greatest sin
Koen Groot (PhD) has been researching fundamental fluid mechanics for the past 2.5 years at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering. The Informed Researcher training helped him to find the most obscure of publications.
“During my research I came across a physical phenomenon, that I’d never seen or heard of before. I got excited, thinking that I might be the first researcher ever to report on it. To be sure I had to read every possible publication about this phenomenon. However, there is so much literature, you sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees. The searching skills I was taught in the Informed Researcher training helped me to do that most efficiently. Eventually, I found one sentence in French, referring to a publication which described the phenomenon. I was disappointed that I couldn’t claim to be the first, but ignorance is the greatest sin. As a scientist you need to have your facts checked.”
As a scientist you need to have your facts checked
“Having your references in order, means you can get to your sources quicker. In the training they gave me tools to migrate all my data into one database. So rather than having my information spread over different devices, it is now accessible from my laptop, desktop, anywhere. This way I can make good connections between sources and search in more detail.
I also became more aware of the pitfalls when searching. Search engines are not as intelligent as we sometimes think. Making a search plan, using the right key words will help me filter the right information, but will also get me to sources that would otherwise be left undiscovered.“
You can subscribe to The Informed Researcher training via Blackboard.
More information can be found at the graduate school or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography: Marcel Krijger