The Difficulties in Conducting Scholarly Research

By Chris Persaud and Samir Nazim

When we were first told that this entire course would be centralized around researching, and then recording a podcast, we were ecstatic. Like many of our peers, we both enjoyed listening to podcasts, therefore having the opportunity to create one of our own seemed like something that would be really interesting, fun, and easy. However, we were wrong about the last bit, it was far from easy.

Most of the podcasts that we enjoyed listening to were interview based. The kind where one comedian invites another comedian over to discuss a range of topics, and make as many jokes as they can. The podcasts we had to create however, was completely different from the ones that we’ve been exposed to. It wasn’t until we were given this assignment that we learned how much work, and depth can go into making a podcast. After listening to some of the podcasts that this courses exposed us to, we learned that podcasts could be very informative, engaging, and multi-dimensional. After we decided on what topic to cover in our episode, which was online dating, we then had to research that topic and find ways to connect it to ICT, and that’s where most of our difficulties began.

The internet is filled with articles on online dating, which is one of the main reasons why we chose it as our topic, but the kind of information that we were looking for was very hard to find, especially from reliable sources. In our search for information to help us uncover the ins and outs of online dating under the constraints of smart ICT, we knew that we had to find articles that could us help identify the key aspects of the technology that dating services were using to learn about their clients, and discover what processes they were using to match their users. After spending hours searching though Google Scholar, and York U’s Library, the only information that we could locate was articles detailing the inadequacies in online dating, such as the effects of inaccurate profile information. While these articles were scholarly, and informative, we needed more. We needed something that related more to the technology that these services were using, and that’s when found out that we would have to dig deeper.

Finally, after hours of dead-ends, we hit the jackpot. While exploring York’s research guides, we thought that maybe if we searched within the indexes and databases for Computer Science, we could find what we were looking for. Sure enough, we did. With the help of the Universities guide for research in Computer Science, we discovered the IEEE Explore Digital Library, Scopus, Inspec, and the AMC Digital Library, all filled with useful information on the technology behind online dating. Thanks to these indexes/databases, we were able to learn about the algorithms that online dating services were using, like SimRank, and discover the details to how they function.

Despite the difficulty that we had in the early stages of our research, time and persistence finally lead us to the information that we needed. The lesson that we learned, and that we’d pass on to others doing research is: Just because Google Scholar can’t find it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. York’s research guides can lead you to indexes/databases for specific programs and areas, and by using these indexes/databases, you can find a world of information specific to what you are researching. Luckily for us, we were able to learn this important lesson long before our deadline, and were still able to enjoy the rest the of the experience that we had with putting our episode together.