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Some Tips To Would-Be Researchers

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  • Some Tips To Would-Be Researchers

    Post intended primarily for people who may want to get involved with the sort of work done on The Forums.

    Years ago, the University of Texas had a football coach named Darrell Royal. Once asked why he preferred to augment his team's running game rather than a passing game, Royal said that there were 3 things that could happen when you pass the football and two of them were bad ( incompletion or interception).

    Its sort of like that when you tackle the newspapers.....its easy to become gun-shy considering your intentions may not always bear fruit. I've noticed four conditions which are inherent in scouring the contemporary papers that I'd like to mention.

    One, that the word you've entered doesn't appear. Often, you can go into that paper afterwards and find a reference or two to the word you expected to pop up in your search. Happened to me at least three times yesterday. I entered a word with no success....closed the open page....went back into the same source a little later....and voila !.....the word appeared. It pays to do this from time to time. Its a glitch common to American and British newspaper troves.

    Two, that newspapers with potentially valuable articles have not been digitized yet. Just wait and remember the name of the paper for future investigation. Or, ask someone here on the boards who may be able to help.

    Three, that you can accidentally overlook words which you enter. Chalk it up to good old human error.

    Fourth... that while you may have heard an article appears in a paper and you're sure you've heard correctly....there is a distinct and definite possibility that its in another edition of the paper. The Echo, most New York papers, and several other British papers had multiple editions.

    One final hint. Just because a newspaper seems to be a small town tabloid....don't underestimate it. Who would have thought the South Wales Echo ( Glamorgan ) would yield over 330 articles which I've added on the site ?

    Happy researching !
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  • #2
    Re researching in general, I think the main thing is to remember there's ALWAYS one more thing you can try, one more angle you can pursue. And if you try that and it doesn't work,'ll think of ANOTHER one more.


    • #3
      I am fascinated with early Christian history, the historic Jesus, etc. What I have learned in following some top researchers in this field is that very small bits of knowledge can sometimes point to a much bigger picture and unlock customs, history and new directions for research.

      This applies to any complex research IMO. One sentence or one recorded act can sometimes tell a great deal and lead to bigger discoveries. So look at every tiny bit and always ask why. This sort of thinking led me to my recent comments on JtR's difficulties with Kate Eddowes' many layers of clothing. Of course Jack exposed her abdomen and perpetrated surgery but what about the difficulties in getting to that point and how much time was lost? Was he angry? Did he panic? Did he leave the scene, cleaning himself with a bit of apron because he ran out of time? He was certainly determined enough to complete a most risky project despite difficulties.
      The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript


      • #4
        On the subject of searching. I was listening to an interesting radio programme on the Dewey decimal system. For those unacquainted it’s the system libraries use to catalog books. The system works by giving different human interests a number, say science would be 500, art may be 900 these are further divided into sub categories biology maybe 500.1 and so on therefore if the book or anything is properly cataloged it can be found quickly.
        Now it can be imagined that it would be in the shape of a tree with each branch dividing into sub branches.
        The internet is a whole different kettle of fish. It would resemble a brain with millions of nodes interconnected in a mesh and usually like a brain in a quite chaotic way. One day the connections would be different from the next and just like a brain a thought or link may lead you down a completely different path.
        Each system has their advantages and disadvantages, the Dewey decimal system is stable you will always find what you’re looking for time and again but it’s boring no room for the unexpected the opposite is the case with the Internet you may never find the same information again, most times you will but there’s always a chance you won’t. Of course there’s always a chance of finding something unexpected and for me that’s its big advantage. That chance hit on a page that leads you further, before you know it 3 hrs have passed.


        • #5
          And concerning the internet=> ANYONE can publish ANYTHING. Reader beware and be sure to research anything you think is worthwhile. Someone's opinion may appear to be profound historic research or solution to a mystery.
          The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript