Hello! My name is Matthew Von Hendy, I am the owner of Green Heron Information Services, which provides research and information services to evaluation professionals. I love helping connect people with the information that they need to solve problems or make decisions.
Many evaluators are working in budget constrained environments which can make accessing the best high quality resources difficult. Fortunately, many excellent research resources are being made open access (free) or available at a reduced cost. You just need to know where to look. I recently presented a brown bag session for the Washington Evaluators on this topic, “10 High Quality Low-Cost Research Resources for Evaluators.”
Some quick tips and suggestions:
- Search engines. Most everyone makes extensive use of Google and it is the tool that evaluators use most often to answer research questions. It is a very good resource but you need to be aware that Google filters your results meaning you may not be seeing important resources. Search engines such as Duck Duck Go or Blekko can provide a way to make sure you are not missing something crucial.
- Finding Full Text. Many evaluators are very familiar with the subset of Google that focus on academically oriented research, Google Scholar. It is an effective tool for finding free full-text of articles. I would suggest using the advanced search feature; you can find this by clicking on the downward pointing carat on the right hand side of the search box. Mendeley can also be a good source for finding free full-text of research articles.
- Discounted rates. Some major research publishers offer deeply discounted rates to individual researchers for a short or limited amount of time. For instance, the American Psychology Association (APA) offers a 24 hour pass that allows access to several of their major databases for under twelve dollars.
- Citation Managers. If you are searching and storing many citations you should not being using Word to do this function. Many excellent free citation managers are available including Zotero, Mendeley and Endnote Web just to name a few. Yes, it will take a little time to learn them but the payoff will be enormous in terms of time saved.
- Databases. Just about every major research area has a high quality free database which evaluators can use: the health sciences has PubMed, education has ERIC, and even transportation has a great resource TRID. If you are working in the science and technology sector, you may check out my recent article on research resources in those fields.
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