When considering a doctoral program one of the things to remember is that regardless of the doctoral designation, the degree is about research. So research is very critical and understanding the different types of research is very important.
Most individuals use Google, Yahoo, AOL, Mozilla, Ask, or another search engine to search for whatever information they are seeking to learn more about. While there is a vast amount of information out there, most of the information is not consider valid or reliable for a doctoral degree.
The two types of research that most doctoral programs seek for references and writing are Peer-Reviewed and Empirical Research. Peer-Reviewed articles mean that the article has been reviewed and analyzed by three doctorates. Empirical research means it is original research that has been done like the research for a dissertation. A dissertation is Empirical research and many scholarly doctorates continue researching in their field of expertise to publish those results. These are the two types of research that most doctorate programs will require and they want them to be published in a scholarly journal.
So now that we know what research is going to be required where do you find this type of information? Google does offer what is called Google scholar, but most college professors are looking for sources beyond what is on the web. Most college and universities have a great library with databases of information that not even Google has access to and I would encourage every doctoral student to become familiar with those databases.
Now I realize the college library databases are not as easy to use or that is the appearance that they give. Most of my students tell me, but the library databases are hard to use. The problem is the library databases are different because you only search so one database at a time versus searching the whole web. These databases are different, but we all know that change is also difficult for most human beings. Next month, my goal is to create a movie to show you how to search these databases and save you some time when it comes to locating references that are peer-reviewed or empirical research.
When it comes to selecting a database the right one depends upon the information needed. Two databases that I primarily use are Proquest and Ebscohost. Both of these databases have loads of business and human resource information, so they are great sources for that specialization. There are databases for Psychology, just dissertations, medical and more. So whether you are a college student now in associates, bachelors, masters or doctoral program, these databases are the best to utilize for college work.
Next month, tips to use these databases with ease!