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What are the secrets, tools, resources used to do find a solution to a problems?

I typically use Ask Jeeves, and Google to find the answers to many of my solutions. My guess your team has an arsenal of tools to find the answers to any problem. I am interested based on, the specifics to a problem, the constraints of time, the large diversity of questions, how you find a solution to the many problems that are presented.

Perhaps, at the PHD level you are taught how to find, and document research at greater speed. What tools, or methodologies do you use that you would be willing to share?

Any points would be appreciated, it will make my life easier, and help me down the road, when I work on my PHD. I prefer to ask the experts!

Sincerely, and Thank you

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You used to know how to do it well when you were a child, but if you are like most of us, you lost your creative edge as you grew up. We all love our moms, but having her tell us "No" a billion times actually had an effect on our creative thinking ability. And the more schooling we got, the less creative we became. Sorry you PhDs, but the school systems teach us over and over again that there is only one right answer. Common sense tells us there are 1000's of right answers if we just allow our minds to be naturally creative.

· Critical thinking
Usually called "problem-solving" in the business world, this is probably the single most important attribute you can emphasize in an interview. PhDs have to identify key questions and get to the heart of "what's at stake" in every project, so it's crucial to be able to isolate, explain and solve problems while keeping track of the larger framework. It's also one of the most difficult things to teach, so PhDs automatically walk in the door with an advantage.
· Time management
When faced with a deadline for completing a task, PhDs know how to structure their time efficiently and to work independently. Studying for exams, conducting research in isolation, all those long hours of writing--this is relevant work experience. Those who have taught have the added benefit of knowing how to design and structure projects while helping others meet deadlines, which a really useful skill when working on a team.
· Communication
From teaching and/or conferences, PhDs know how to communicate clearly and professionally--this not only means projecting self-confidence and expertise, but also an understanding of each audience's background, needs and interests. PhDs often have to present their findings or ideas, sometimes in awkward, tense or complicated situations. Since public speaking is the primary fear of most Americans, employers will also be impressed by the average PhDs comfort in front of a groups.
· Writing
I am often sent others' work to edit, gave a day-long writing workshop to my colleagues, and wrote a newsletter article about a recent project. Managers appreciate being able to focus on improving report content rather than fixing grammatical and stylistic problems. However, don't let yourself become labeled "the writer" or people may overload you with editing and forget that you have other equally valuable skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, etc.)

· A training in how to do research.
People in the arts often overestimate the status of the doctorate (once you get the gown and hat, you might 'know it all'!) In the sciences a PhD is recognised as quite a junior stage - where you start your research career and learn how to do it. Whilst PhDs are seldom 'taught', Universities vary widely in how good they are at research training. The question of 'status' is often confusing for arts researchers (student or 'know-it-all'?), especially as they often undertake doctorates when older.
· Breadth and depth.
You are learning how to become an expert in your field. According to the UK Council for Graduate Education (1997, p.15) "The essence of Doctorateness" involves "mastery of the subject; mastery of analytical breadth (where methods, techniques, contexts and data are concerned) and mastery of depth (the contribution itself, judged to be competent and original and of high quality)."
· Producing 'original/new knowledge', and communicating that knowledge.

'Original Knowledge' at the very least means that you shouldn't be copying (plagiarism) or duplicating it because you didn't know about other similar work (poor research). Phillips and Pugh (2000, p.63ff) give some reassuring definitions of originality. Beyond that, it is a thorny topic for art-practice in particular. Does original artwork equate to new knowledge? Doesn't every good postmodernist know that nothing is truly original? Is all new knowledge necessarily creative in all fields?
How would you define new knowledge in your own field? (For further debate see Macleod, 1999b)

... communicating that knowledge. This is usually taken to mean communicating to one's peers. Personal epiphanies are not sufficient unless communicable. You must communicate clearly, unambiguously, and truthfully. In art this brings up raging debate concerning the format of the dissertation: If scientists use formulae understandable to other scientists, should artists communicate primarily in images to other artists? Current most Universities demand that dissertations should meet a word-count stipulation.:

Individual methodologies have complex bodies of knowledge attached to them, but may be be combined within an overall research process. In planning your research, it may help to plan your overall research 'shape'. You will need to gain many skills in order to design and execute your research methodology. Think about how you will gain those skills at the start of your research. Joining a 'research community' might help you.

Your research proposal is the main base upon which a supervisor and a research degrees committee can begin to judge the value or potential of your research work. Many universities now demand a great deal of work prior to the submission of a research proposal, which in the past might well have been little more than an indicative title.
Drawing up a research proposal is the first main task you will be involved in with your supervisor. Depending on your university regulations, the norm is to register for your research degree if it is an MPhil or a PhD, then develop the proposal, then have registration confirmed when the proposal is accepted - which could be a process lasting anything from three months to a year in some instances. For students studying for an MA or other Masters and writing a dissertation, you will already be on the course and drawing up a proposal ...