Book By: Judi Kesselman-Turkel & Franklynn Peterson
Review By: Sharon Baffa Keeling
Academic Advisor, Departments of Political Science and Sociology/Anthropology
Western Illinois University, Macomb
The authors of Research Shortcuts effectively guide the reader from preliminary research to final draft in 108 pages of clear and concise tips. Although intended for a student audience, this quick and easy read will appeal to all writers, new or experienced. Prolific authors themselves, Kesselman-Turkel and Peterson promise to deliver “…techniques and shortcuts that years of research time have taught us, so that you can find your way like a pro to the best and fastest resources for your own projects” (p.viii). They succeed indeed.
The 38 shortcuts contained in this book are divided into five sections that serve as an outline for completing a research and writing project. The authors emphasize the importance of organizing research to maximize efforts and provide a formula for estimating the reasonable number of hours necessary to research and write. They stress the time saving quality of careful note taking and furnish illustrations of the detailed bibliography forms they use in their own research. Note: these forms would be more useful if they were camera ready so they could be copied directly from the book. Additionally, the authors introduce interview techniques that novice researchers may overlook and provide detailed tips for successful face-to-face and telephone interviews. A warning to the reader is needed here. The authors assert that it is acceptable to tape record a phone interview with the consent of one party to the conversation. However, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Website informs readers that Federal law allowing for “one-party consent” recordings has been strengthened by some states. Thus, prudent researchers should always ask permission before taping a telephone interview.
Research Shortcuts is a book advisors can easily recommend to all students, and especially to those who are inexperienced writers still developing a voice and writing style. This is not a daunting read and it offers sound advice: follow an outline, stay organized, research with a clear purpose, and, finally, write. Affordably priced at $6.95, this is a resource students can use repeatedly for all types of research.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, “Can We Tape?” Winter 2003. http://www.rcfp.org/taping/intro.html (15 Sept. 2004).
Research Shortcuts. (2003). Book By Kesselman-Turkel, Judi and Peterson, Franklynn. Review by Sharon Baffa Keeling. Madison:The University of Wisconsin Press. 108 pp. $6.95. ISBN 0-299-19164-8.