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Take fully online courses on a flexible schedule Learn from established technical communicators working in the field Build a professional network of peers Learn core competencies identified by the Society for Technical Communication. Part-Time Certificate Program. Use standard methodology to produce clear, user-focused documents Analyze, organize and edit information for online viewing Follow design principles for effective visual communication Manage documentation projects from planning and budgeting through production.
The best way to do this is to read, read, and read some more! Pay attention to the way ideas and experiments are described in the literature.
For example, in medicine, you've probably heard of the term "heart attack". Searching for that in the medical literature might get you some articles, but you'd soon discover especially if you're using PubMed - more on that later that the preferred term in the medical community is "myocardial infarction".
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Similarly, in the chemical community, common names of chemicals for example, polyacetylene are being phased out in favor of IUPAC names polyethyne , but if you want to find older articles as well as newer articles, you need to know both! Scholarly articles sometimes but not always have a section in the full text labeled Keywords , usually near the Abstract - here's an example - look just past the Abstract. An excellent way to get an idea of preferred wording is to use a literature database such as Web of Science , PubMed , or SciFinder.
All these databases show you groupings of preferred vocabulary when you search, although they are called slightly different things in each one. There is more about that elsewhere in this guide.
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It should be noted though that Google Scholar, as great as it can be, doesn't offer any help with discovering preferred terminology - it recommends reading secondary sources! Literature databases usually index several kinds of scholarly writing. It's important to be familiar with them so that you choose the correct type of article for your assignments.
Different databases may call them different things; more about that elsewhere in this guide. Caltech Connect Whenever you're looking for articles in databases that don't give you full text, look for this icon, or the words "Caltech Connect," for help in determining whether we have access to that article.
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On This Page Research and Databases Links to literature databases and guides on how to use them more effectively. Link opens a separate LibGuide. This custom link will also include CaltechConnect functionality to access full text or request via DocuServe. Google Scholar. Select "Library links" and search for "California Institute of Technology". You should now see "Caltech Connect" on the right hand side of your search results. Dimensions Dimensions is a citation database of academic publications, grants, patents, and clinical trials across all disciplines.
Notable attributes include the comprehensive grant information, linkages between grants and resulting publications, and analytical views of funding and citation data. If you need help finding starting points for research in specific academic disciplines, click here. Is there anything that Google can't find? Actually, yes there is. Google suffers from two basic problems: It is web-based, and thus won't index anything that isn't web-accessible i. It is based to a large extent on popularity - search results aren't based necessarily on content relevancy, but rather on how many other pages link to them, or how many other people have clicked on a link after doing the same search.
Speaking the Language You probably know that there are certain preferred words used to describe different things, usually under different circumstances.
Here are two sources to look out for that will help you learn preferred vocabulary: 1. Types of Articles Literature databases usually index several kinds of scholarly writing. Original Research Article This is the standard peer-reviewed "journal article" that reports on an actual experiment performed, and presents the results of those experiments.
If what you are reading doesn't contain all of those sections, it probably isn't an Original Research Article. It does not follow the format of an Original Research Article, and may or may not be peer-reviewed. They are usually good as overviews of a particular research experiment, but don't give the full scope of the work, and are NOT peer-reviewed. Usually, the Original Research Article is referenced somewhere in the text.
Book or Book Chapter After ideas and experiments have been established in the open literature for a while, work may be collected and published in a book. Edited books usually contain several chapters dealing with different aspects of a topic.
The editor of the book is usually a prominent researcher in the field, and invites other researchers to contribute chapters. Sometimes, thesis chapters may appear in peer-reviewed journals as independent articles. They are not always easily available.
Related Research in Technical Communication
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