The Quest for Knowledge: My Lessons in Research

Essay 2 is beginning to take form.  I selected my next topic “The Indian Removal Act of 1830” with hopes of abundant information to fashion my persuasive topic.  This has proven to be a bit more trying than I expected!  And so, my adventure into learning about the subject so that I can write something intelligent begins. 

We must use at least 5 secondary resources for our information.  Hmm…  that shouldn’t be too hard.  WRONG!  Whatever happened to good old books and nice little librarians that sat there and assisted? A thing of the past.  Now I have to sit in front of a computer and try to sift through all the numerous databases that hold the information. I have to use just the right words or I get a load of titles that has little if anything to do with the subject I am searching.   Last semester in my Writing I class we were introduced to Ebsco, ProQuest, Google Scholar, and the numerous databases that we have to choose from through the school.  Enough to turn me into a babbling 52-year-old! 

I am an old horse, raised in the day were reports were written in the library at school (encyclopedias were not allowed out of the school unless you came from a well to do family who could afford the steep price for a home set). The selection of books were limited and it would entail my Mother dragging 6 kids to the library for me to acquire the materials needed.  Those were my days.  When you actually held a book with lots of pages and pictures too!  Old dogs can learn new tricks, but we run into the wall every now and then and have to start over again. Now I must do database diving instead of walking down the rows of books with the wonderful smell of old paper.

Today, I decided that I would go to the library in hopes of finding that friendly Librarian.  I had several options (so I thought).  I could go to the Public Library Branch closest to my home, venture to the Library at the Downtown Campus or try my luck at locating the main library and finding a parking space that I can manuever into without doing damage to any vehicle (parallel parking is not for me).   I chose option one in an effort to save some time.  I work full-time and still have to find time to care for my animals, get my exercise in and take care of a house, and sleep.  after my mid-morning run and a quick shower, I hopped in the car and drove the 10 minutes to the local branch.  There I was directed to the reference desk where a nice little old lady sat perched behind the desk just waiting for someone to help.  I became giddy with the thoughts of my youth and the help I was going to get!  Boy, was I wrong!  She was polite as I told her my needs and what I was using the material for, she turn and typed the information into, you guessed it, a database!  She found one book and it really wasn’t what I was looking for.  It actually was a book for a 6th grader!  No scholarly journals or reference books, just a 1/4″ book that had more to do with the simple facts and nothing nitty-gritty.  How can I form a persuasive topic on this!?  I politely said” thank you” walked around for a minute, returned the book to the shelf and high tailed it out of there.  Next stop the campus library.

You would think the library would be open on a Saturday, they are but only until 1 pm and I missed it by and hour.  So back to the drawing board and database diving.  I have found several articles on the subject but long for some good old books to hold in my hands and read.  My quest still continues…

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