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Technology: Getting Started

Resources for information on current and developing technologies.

Getting Started

A confusion of lines painted by a glowing stick

Research is a process with many steps. The funny thing is, it isn't always a straight-line process. Your understanding may change, and you'll revisit earlier steps. This doesn't mean your earlier work was wrong or wasted time. Far from it. It means your exploration is progressing. Following new leads as you find them will deepen your knowledge. You may be surprised where you end up.

Defining Emerging & Disruptive Technologies

"Emerging technologies" may refer to existing but newer tech that's developing (like robots and self-driving cars) or to tech that may become a reality within 5-10 years (like the end of the password, or quantum computing).

"Disruptive technologies" are those which may have big impacts on society, the economy, etc., like generative AI. 

Analyzing Your Research Objectives

The first step in doing research is to analyze your objectives. This crucial step will help you to find the information you need more quickly and efficiently.

When doing your analysis, identify keywords that:

  • Describe your research topic, such as descriptive nouns, phrases, and synonyms.

  • Broaden, narrow, or relate to your topic

Also, think about:

  • What questions do you need to answer for yourself and your audience?

  • What information do you need to have to answer those questions?

  • Who might have that information?

  • Where the information might exist?

  • In what forms (book, article, website, etc.) might the information exist?

WHAT: General information about the technology. What is it? What does it do?

WHEN: History of its development and projections for its future. 

WHO: Who can benefit from the technology? Who might be at risk? 

HOW: How can it be used in education, business, etc.? How might it change things?

WHY: What are the Pros & Cons of the technology?

WHAT/WHO: Who is the competition? 

Survey the Background

Where do professional librarians start their research? With the background.

Before all else, get a basic understanding of the main issues, components, developments, and terminology related to your area of interest by scanning encyclopedia articles, FAQs, and explanatory text in news sources.

Look for what sparks your interest, especially if it relates to your life.

Take note of the important:

  • Terminology, including synonyms
  • Names of people, organizations or companies, places, and events

These words are the keys to finding articles, books, videos, experts, and other sources of information to answer your research questions.

How to Use Wikipedia for Academic Research

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