Researching the Professions

Doing research within one's field is usually a very meaningful task since it should be something you are interested. This guide is meant to help you begin research into your individual fields so that you can start to become versed in said field and can start to become aware of the issues and/or trends in that field, constantly updating your knowledge.

For the basics of career research, please consult the College and Career Information collection and guide. This is where you can find information on job outlooks, salaries, work requirements, education requirments, "a day in the life...", and many other types of information. Please note the three section of that guide -- Jobs, Careers, and College. Use all three.

Finding information concerning trends, issues, or controversies within a discipline/field of study requires a different search strategy.

Looking for trends or issues within a discipline

For example, if one were studying to become an architect, one might do this search in Academic Search Premier database: Architecture AND trends. As of this writing, one of the articles in the results is: Sustainable energy performances of green buildings.

Now, without even reading this article, though one could for more ideas, it is possible to glean out a few ideas many architects are possibly considering within their careers – “sustainable energy”, “energy use”, and “green buildings”. The new search could then be a combination of these concepts: Architecture AND energy use. This would produce many articles on the topic of “energy use” and “energy conservation” [another concept to think about].

The key is to skim the results to find different concepts that may interest you and are likely to be researched or discussed inside the discipline/field you are pursuing. Even this topic “energy use” could be a great topic for a budding physicist as well.

The search strategy is to use what you already know about the discipline and use search terms like “trends,” “issues,” “new developments,” “problems,” or “controversy” to start to seek out new ideas. Some topics may be obvious and can just be searched from the beginning, like physics AND energy, but some may not be that obvious, especially if you are new to the field or just selected your major. Remember that these vague terms like "trends" could be used initially, but then dropped as you become more aware of what the actual trends are and search for those trends/issues specifically.

[NOTE: a short video of said search strategy is under construction]