________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 36 . . . . May 18, 2012


The Research Virtuoso: How to Find Anything You Need to Know. Fully Revised and Updated Ed.

Toronto Public Library. Art by Victor Gad.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2012.
122 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-55451-394-9.

Subject Headings:
Internet searching-Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Electronic information resource searching-Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Library research-Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Myra Junyk.

**** /4



Dismiss any thoughts of a search starting and ending with an Internet search engine. A whole other world of information is waiting for you and accessible through the library. The library is a great place to access primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

Now let’s get something straight: no two libraries are exactly the same. While most libraries are set up in a predictable fashion, each has its own unique collection of:

-electronic resources
-periodicals (regular publications, including newspapers, magazines, and journals)

The Research Vituoso, from the Toronto Public Library, was first published in 2006 by Annick Press. It has been thoroughly revised and updated to include a wealth of new resources, and it is an essential tool for older teenage and adult researchers to help them deal with “the flood of information” that they face each and every day. This book is a follow up for older readers to Research Ate My Brain, published in 2005, which was meant for teenage readers.

     The book is organized into four sections: “Getting Ready: Preparing Yourself for Research”, “Digging In: Locating Information”, “Taking Stock: Evaluating and Processing Information” and “Getting It Out There: Communicating Your Research”. It takes researchers through the entire writing process: understanding the research assignment, setting up a plan, brainstorming, evaluating a variety of Internet sources, using the library, conducting personal interviews, evaluating relevant information, organizing research, crafting a thesis statement, considering the audience, and structuring the presentation.

      The Research Virtuoso is heavily weighted toward online research, with many interesting strategies and websites listed. There are useful sections on search engines, metasearch engines, databases, open access journals, fonds, and archives. There is a lot of very useful information here!

      The layout of this book is very appealing with drawings that mimic the graphic novel format. Victor Gad’s amusing cartoon like illustrations and cartoon strips emphasize key topics and provide a good counterpoint to the often dense information provided. There is a very useful section on the nature of plagiarism and how to avoid it. The writers also provide lots of detail about effective research strategies, the reliability of online sources and accurate citations. Numerous checklists, graphic organizers and templates will help researchers to plan and organize their findings.

      The new and improved Research Virtuoso was written by Jessica Rovito and Peggy Thomas. One positive change in the new edition was the elimination of the persona of Dominic, the hypothetical researcher from the first edition. The addition of more detail about the planning and writing process creates a very useful book for researchers who need to understand that creating a research paper involves brainstorming and drafting as well as surfing the Internet for information. The Research Virtuoso is a practical and very useful tool for both students and adults doing research!

Highly Recommended.

Myra Junyk, who resides in Toronto, ON, is a literacy advocate and author.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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