CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 9 . . . . January 6, 2006
Research Ate My Brain aims to reassure students that there is no need to hit the panic button when a project is assigned. Working as a “road map” for information seekers, readers will be introduced to the need for a work plan, tricks to navigating physical and virtual libraries, web searching, and evaluating information in order to find reliable sources. Once those sources are located and used, readers can use the final chapter to learn how to cite them.
The writing is clear, and the tone is appropriate to middle and high school students. All of the advice and tips given in the book are sound and, if followed, should lead to successful completion of above-average assignments with minimal stress. In each chapter, there is a graphic novel-style story that adds interest and presents the chapter's information visually.
Unfortunately, even with all of the good writing and visual interest of graphic novel styling, the book can be easy to put down and hard to follow due to its poorly designed layout. The text is continuously interrupted (often in the middle of a list or a paragraph) by the graphic “stories” of intrepid researchers, making it hard to pick up the flow of information once the story is finished. More careful attention to structure would have made each chapter's points much easier to digest.
Even with this design flaw, the book should appeal to novice researchers and the adults in their lives. The contents are short and snappy and easy to follow. Librarians and teachers presenting Study Skills sessions or courses will do well to use this book as required reading and then as a guide to follow-up class research activities. Parents who are tired of last-minute, late-night panic runs to the public library might also want to encourage their young scholars to have a look at the advice in this book.
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