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

Line It Up

“A working outline,” says the University of Victoria Department of English, can provide you “with a rough map of where the essay will go, making a diagram of your thoughts to sharpen and define your purpose.” The UVic Writer’s Guide explains how to create one in “The Structure of the Essay Outline:”

The beginning is the introduction containing your thesis statement; the end is the conclusion; and the middle or body of the essay contains the argument, supported by evidence or example and designed to prove your thesis. Read more

Overcoming Challenges

Do you have a problem with that?

Some people tackle challenges head-on, and others run the other way. Discover your own problem-solving skills and attitudes by taking the Chatterbean quiz Are You a Creative Problem Solver?

R. Buckminster Fuller reportedly said, “A problem adequately stated is a problem well on its way to being solved.” Stephen Brown and Marion Walter agree. In their book The Art of Problem Posing, they explain that “problem posing” can help put “a standard topic in a sharper light…It can also encourage the creation of new ideas derived from any given topic.” Read more

So Random

Generating Secure Passwords

With PC Tools’ Secure Password Generator, it’s a breeze “to create random passwords that are highly secure and extremely difficult to crack or guess.”

To use this tool, you simply supply various bits of information – choosing from a variety of options to indicate the length of the password needed, whether you want to mix case, whether the password should include numbers and/or punctuation, etc. – and hit “Generate Passwords.” As many as 50 passwords – all provided, PC Tools notes, on an “as is” basis and to be used at your own risk – can be generated at one pass.

Clutter-free Writing

David R. Williams advocates applying the K.I.S.S. principle (“Keep it simple, Stupid.”) to writing. In his book Sin Boldly! Dr. Dave’s Guide to Writing the College Paper (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2000), 9, he explains, ” ‘Simple’ does not have to mean simpleminded. Keeping it simple means avoiding the complexity of too many competing, confusing factors. This applies to choosing a paper topic as well as writing a sentence or running a business.” Read more

The Effect of Your Environment, Part II

A Fine Mess

Albert Einstein is widely quoted as saying, “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” If you’ve used his words to defend your own messy ways at school, work, or other parts of your life, you might be hard-wired for disorder. And that can be a good thing. Read more