re·search: noun the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

I just finished the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin,the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Four TendenciesBetter Than BeforeThe Happiness Project, and Happier at Home. 

Gretchen does a lot of research for her books, in cognitive science, behavioral economics, monastic governance, philosophy, psychology, product design, addiction, consumer research, productivity, animal training, decision science, public policy. She uses treaties, histories, biographies, and the latest scientific research.  She was a lawyer before moving to full-time authorship; lawyers do a lot of research so she already had a head-start on that skill set.

As I read her book I felt this twinge: I’m a librarian who has worked in the private sector for most of my career as a functional and business analyst.

I’m feeling a bit rusty on my researching.

I have my blackbelt in GoogleFu, but that is more cyber ready-reference and not research.

I don’t feel a twinge because she is a published author, I envy the  researcher.

Being a researcher sounds utterly superhuman to me, a person who is intelligent, focused, single-minded, determined, the list of words meaning basically the same thing goes on. It reminds me of this classic post “Why you should fall to your knees and worship a librarian”. *

I’m researching research, its methods, how it may or may not differ from the work a librarian does – beyond a librarian over-functioning for a stressed academic. Would a researcher have the same step 1,2,3 in their process with some additional steps after the librarian has completed their assistance, or would the researcher have a completely different approach as they seek to cross the information gap rather than bridging it for another, which is the work of the librarian.

Next time…..what is the Research Lifecycle?

* I find it refreshing that the author did NOT capitalize the word librarian, since it is class of jobs rather than a specific or official title.

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