Red Letter Days

“Handwritten letters are becoming a thing of the past,”

says Wendy Lustbader, adding, “We have e-mail now…” In her Aging Today essay The Demise of Letter-writing, she acknowledges, “It is true that e-mail from dear friends can be printed out and given the heft of paper. I have done this, placing each email in a file folder labeled with the friend’s name. But I prefer my shabby boxes filled with 30 years’ worth of letters from these same friends. When I open them, envelopes of different colors and shapes, stamps of all varieties and postmarks greet me. I see my name written in familiar handwriting, addressed to past domiciles…However, when I open a file folder of accumulated e-mail, I remain unmoved by those pages of bloodless, typed uniformity.” Read more

At your leisure: Good Times!

Are you taking advantage of your free time?

Most of us spend our days scrambling to get everything in. So when school or job breaks offer up a chunk of free time, we can be at a loss for how to fill it. Rather than zoning out until the hours dribble away or filling up the time with busy work, consider these fun – and frugal – alternatives. Read more

Matters of opinion

Where to look for research perspective

When you need to examine how people are reporting or commenting on different aspects of an issue or situation, these resources – among NoodleTools.com’s valuable guidelines to help Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need – are a great place to start.

Here are NoodleTools’ suggestions for opinion and perspective resources: Read more

Analyze This

How to write a good book review

A book review is “not a retelling,” emphasizes Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), nor is it “a book report or a summary.” Instead, they explain in How to Write a Book Review, it is “a description, critical analysis, and an evaluation on the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling. It should focus on the book’s purpose, content, and authority. Read more

Study Strategy

Make Note

The main thing to know about note-taking, says Richard Palmer, is that “All notes that are not accompanied by solid understanding are useless.”  In Brain Train: Studying for Success (London: E & FN Spon, 1996), 102, he explains, “Your notes are both part of your thinking and a reflection of it, done as part of the preparation for a piece of work or as a record and reminder of your reading and research. Class notes…are as formal as the textbooks you study, and a significant part of your course material.” Read more

Take Searches Up a Notch

Traditional search methods don’t always work effectively. When you’re disappointed with the results you’re getting, Barbara G. Friedman, author of Web Search Savvy: Strategies and Shortcuts for Online Research (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005), 60, suggests trying some of the alternative approaches in her checklist of Tips for Smart Searchers. Read more

Get Real

“Working with primary sources is like detective work – leads must be followed, motives evaluated and stories matched for consistency,” says Leslie F. Stebbins. In the book Student Guide to Research in the Digital Age: How to Locate and Evaluate Information Sources (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006), 79, Stebbins offers some strategies you can use to analyze primary sources. Read more

The Art of Negotiation

Deal or No Deal

Because “Negotiations crop up on the way to decisions big and small—when to fill the gas tank, how to spend money, who picks up the kids…” notes Psychology Today, most of us can “benefit from the same (negotiating) skills world leaders use to solve problems. And best of all, getting better at reaching agreement is pretty painless.” The article “The Art of Negotiation” offers tips from University of California system negotiator Gregorio Billikopf. Read more

Active Listening

Can You Hear Me Now?

Most people consider themselves to be good listeners. But what would others – professors, bosses, friends, family – say about you? If you look like you’re paying attention but are actually focusing on what you’ll say as soon as you get the chance, you’ve got some work to do. Read more

Get Fast, Accurate Results with Exact Phrases

“Searching for phrases” notes Living Internet “is one of the fastest ways to narrow down results” Their article Search for Phrases, explains how to use this technique.

You can specify a phrase on most search engines by placing it in double quotes. Because they are a form of unique identifier, phrases are very useful at filtering search results to just pages that contain that exact, specific string of characters. Read more