Final Projects, Part Three of Many: Research Considerations

Many of you may not, in fact, have been asked to do significant research before. Here are some ideas on how to get started doing research on the sorts of topics we are dealing with in class:

  • Google that shit. Seriously. If you’re working on a specific object (a video game, a person’s Instagram feed, whatever), then google away. I don’t mean googling for 10 minutes, I mean spend an hour or more just entering queries to see what you can find that’s interesting, unusual, bonkers, fucking weird.
  • Google-scholar that shit. If you’re interested in, say Lauren Berlant, you could do a whole lot worse than, for instance, putting her into scholar.google.com.
  • Academia.edu and personal websites. My personal website, as you probably know, is kredati.org. Such sites have useful information! For example, you can see all the things I’ve written and published there.
  • Follow footnotes. This is a very, very powerful way to do research, especially when you have a certain body of text under your belt. Let’s say you’re interested in what Jagoda has to say about network games and how they refract network form. Especially find the parts of the essay you find compelling, and see what he cites during those passages.
  • Talk to people. Me. Your fellow students. Your other professors. You may not actually even need to talk to them, but just use your bloggy-blogs to interact.
  • The library. I know! So retro! But Judith Arnold, who is the librarian for English, is perfectly wonderful, and has put together a really helpful research guide for English. Spend a long while looking through that website.
  • JSTOR, Project Muse, and others. In the research guide, you will find a good list of relevant databases.
  • Amazon.com. Amazon’s book recommendation algorithm is pretty good, at least sometimes. Punch in a book that you know you like (say, Post-Cinematic Affect), and the “People who bought this also bought” list isn’t a bad place to start to find books that are likely of interest. They might not be directly related, but they’ll be related-enough.

That should be enough for now. We’ll keep working on these together.