A Look at an Early Career Researcher Using Web of Science

For those early career researchers considering pursuing a master’s degree or even a PhD, undertaking a dissertation can be a daunting task. From a identifying an appropriate topic, compiling research and completing a literature review, writing and then defending it, the dissertation can seem to be a never-ending process. I recently had the chance to sit down with Florence LingFLing, a 5th year PhD student at Pennsylvania State University to discuss the role that Web of Science played in her research and dissertation. Flo is finalizing her dissertation in geoscience and will be defending it later this summer.

When working on a dissertation it can be more than easy to fall into a black hole of research. But, with Web of Science, it’s different. Being able to get right to the source, while still covering databases and niche societies is the main differentiator between other tools. But in Flo’s opinion, the ability to drill into the data was the most useful feature for her research.

“With other resources, sometimes the references are in a short cut format, so you don’t necessarily know the full name because it’s abbreviated or even the title of the article, you just know the year it was published and the author’s name and that can bring you on this confusing winding road. But when you use Web of Science you can just click and see what the full citation information is and figure that out right away.”

Within Web of Science you can go through all of the cited references, following the paper trail during your literature review. Go further with direct links to the full-text. Delving into each record, you can find citations, measuring the impact of that particular article in its research field. And Web of Science even recommends suggested articles and links to related articles, which is incredibly useful to continuously find new research during the literature review.

Using Web of Science for her dissertation was an obvious choice for Flo. She started using Web of Science in her undergraduate studies and when she moved on, it was an expectation for her to continue using the resource. Now, advising undergrads, Flo recommends the use of Web of Science, especially when considering a topic to study. As the literature review is one of the harder parts of doing research for early careers, the ability to filter in Web of Science by just reviews first, helps to narrow in on a topic.

Good luck Flo with defending your dissertation and beginning your post-doc in environmental science!


Did you miss any of the posts in our Early Career Researcher series? Catch up now:
Early Career Researcher Series: Tips for writing an effective research paper
An Interview with an Early Career Researcher Using EndNote

Early Career Researcher Series: Bibliographies
How to optimize your CV with some help from EndNote
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