Approaches to Gathering Information
Finding Answers: Approaches to Gathering Information
McClelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto, due for release January
1993, 229 pages, Paper, $19.95
Reviewed by Kate Kaufman
"Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always
enough time to do it over?" - Unknown
Can you relate to that? It's a quote from the last chapter of Finding
Answers: Approaches to Gathering Information by Dean Tudor.
His suggestion is first to browse this reference work rather than
attempt to read the complete work, so as to minimize the risk of
developing MEGO (my eyes glaze over), an acronym describing information
The first three chapters are devoted to theory: The Nature of Information,
The Triad of Information and the Linkage of Information. The focus
in the first chapter is on discernment: What are facts, how accessible
are they, how much time is there and what's the cost? Recognizng
the pitfalls involved in accurate documentation he points out "the
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (journalism division): Contradiction,
inaccessibility, jargon and misinformation." For emphasis Tudor
quotes Hemingway, "The essential gift for a good writer is
a built-in, shock-proof shit-detector."
The glut of data available today due to technological advance can
be mind-boggling, but Tudor suggests "the key to understanding
knowledge is knowing how to find knowledge. And for that key we
need to know the nature of information."
With this in mind, the second chapter explores "getting a
handle" on the increasingly complex projects researchers are
assigned these days. This chapter deals with the "triad of
information resources": the warehouse, the document and the
expert. Exploring the "information system" provides some
guidelines to finding out how to put together questions that will
The third chapter looks at the Linkage of Information or "how
one source leads to another." Project management is critical
for negotiating the diverse paths one must travel to get at answers.
Tudor defines things that some seasoned researchers might call intuition.
However, this work provides many fresh insights since "we are
all novices when we begin searching for data in subject fields foreign
The second section, The Practice, covers search strategies - how
to access information. The specialized information in different
sectors of our complex society requires skillful use of available
tools. Chapters 6-11 cover material on Business, Government and
Politics, Law and the Courts, Society and the individual, Science
and Technology and Culture and the Arts and their specialty triads
Making connections, evaluating and using information effectively
is what this book is about. The wealth of experience Tudor brings
to this work is evident in the systematic revelation of tried-and-true
analytical and information gathering techniques, and in the professional
"secrets" he has to share.
This article originally appeared in Sources,
Up Ottawa's Gold
on Parliament Hill
the Library of Parliament
the Goods: Information in B.C.
Intelligent Guide to Successful Online Research
In the Fast Lane: E-Prints Speed Spread Of Research Results
Intelligent Guide to Intelligent Research
Index of Book Reviews
Sources, 489 College
Street, Suite 201, Toronto, ON M6G 1L9.
Phone: (416) 964-7799 FAX: (416) 964-8763
Include yourself in Sources
Mailing Lists and
Media Names & Numbers
Names & Number