Step 2: Gather - Collecting information

The main principle to be followed here is that Gathering information happens before and is separate from trying to do something with it. The mistake students make is to take information unthinkingly direct from the source to the final product. This truncated process leads to a superficial understanding of the topic and copy/paste plagiarism. 

  • It is good to be confused at this stage - reading from more than one source, and trying to understand something difficult, are not meant to be easy! 
  • A mindmap, preferably digital (use Mindmup), is a good way to collect this information in a flexible, non-linear manner. It does not need to be a “real” Buzan study mindmap, with little pictures etc. The purpose here is just to collect main ideas using keywords, to break the linear flow of text.
  • Note making tip: 
    • Read first, slowly and for understanding - no pen, pencil or highlighter.
    • Only then, without looking at the text, make notes - just keywords. 
    • If necessary, fill in missing details.

Some Other ideas for Gathering Info

  • Google Search: Use the various Tools in Google to search more effectively (eg Time, Usage Rights, etc)
  • Mindmap: Use Mindmup to collect and summarise ideas
  • Information scrapbook: Collect and organise information (collaboratively if necessary) from various sources (eg pictures, web pages) into categories using Google Keep
  • Information table or matrix: Use a spreadsheet to create a matrix of categories, criteria, cases, data readings; NB this can be done collaboratively by sharing
  • Cell phones: Use cell phones and/or cameras to collect photos, videos or audio recordings of interviews, site visits, field trips, experiments etc.
  • Probes: Use the various probes to measure sound, light, motion, pressure, temperature, etc, and collect time-based data.
  • Referencing Tools: collect bibliographic information as part of the gathering phase so as to prevent pain and suffering later when needing citations or a bibliography; create a document and use EasyBib
  • Outline as brainstorm: Collect random ideas; write each on a new line, then order them and set their relative importance to create a coherent outline.
  • Geographic Location: Use a GPS app to find and record locations; use Google Earth, Mymaps and Maps to see and record locations

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