7 Methods to find almost any (Positive Psychology) Research Paper on the Internet…

Positive Psychology Articles…even if you don´t have one of those horribly expensive subscriptions to scientific data bases such as ScienceDirect or PsychINFO.

If you want to stay up to date on Positive Psychology, there´s lots of stuff for you out there. You can:

But if you are a little bit like me, you like to read an original research paper once in a while (here´s a collection of essential Positive Psychology papers), e.g., to do a fact-check, find additional articles, or just to get an in-depth perspective on a certain topic. Now, it can be a bit tough to get a hold of those papers since typically, they are hidden behind a database´s paywall. But then, the original publisher´s database is not the only way to obtain a certain paper. Here are seven alternative ways that don´t cost a cent.

Google Scholar

Nowadays, your first visit should always be Google Scholar. It indexes the sites of academic institutions but will also find a lot of research papers that are hosted somewhere else on the net. If you already know the paper´s name that you are looking for, just type that into the search field. But of course, you can also search for keywords, researchers, set a certain time frame, or limit your results to a certain branch of research etc. pp.

If a free PDF is available, it´ll typically open up directly when clicking on the article in the search results. But oftentimes, there are different references for the same articles. It´s always helpful to click on the “versions” button below the search result –  sometimes, the link to a PDF does not work, but then you can find another link that actually does work via that button.

Another great feature is the button that letS you find “similar results”. If you have found an interesting article, clicking on that button will display papers that are very close to the one that you´ve found, e.g., because it´s from the same researchers, covers a similar topic, or cites a lot of the same references. Using this button cleverly will quickly deliver a decent overview of the really relevant papers for a certain research topic.

Google Scholar also shows you how often a paper is cited by other articles. Without changing the settings, articles are typically (sort of) ranked in that order. Once again, this helps a lot to understand what are the really relevant papers and/or researchers in a specific field.

Use Google´s “Filetype Search”

Even though Google Scholar is pretty good at finding research PDFs on the net, it will not find all of them. I´ve obtained a lot of papers by using a valuable tool from the regular Google search. You can limit your search results to PDFs by typing “filetype:PDF” before your search terms (of course, this also works with .doc; .ppt etc.). This way works most effectively when you already know the full title of the paper that your are looking for. In that case, limit your search to PDFs and then copy/paste the title into the search bar in parentheses. If the article´s PDF is to be found somewhere on the internet, you´ll get it that way.

Visit the Researcher´s academic Website

For good reasons, most of the researchers will have a publication list on their websites. If there´s a free PDF on the internet, most of those researchers (those that have an interest in being read and cited) will set a link to the respective PDFs or host them on their own website. While it is typically not allowed to host a research paper that resides behind a database pay wall, there are often exceptions for the authors of those papers (at least, after a certain amount of time has passed after publication). Even if you do not find the exact same paper that you´re looking for, you may find earlier working papers or conference papers that are very similar to the article that you are actually looking for.

Research Gate

There´s a (rather) new and very cool site by the name of ResearchGate. It´s something like a LinkedIn/Facebook for researchers – and a lot of articles are available via the participants´ profiles. So it´s a good idea to sign up. But typically, if a PDF is to be found there, Google Scholar will also reference it.

Send an E-Mail to the Researcher

Nowadays, you´ll find the e-mail address of the so-called “corresponding author” on the title page of every research paper (and in most cases, it´s also mentioned below the article’s abstract on the net). If there´s no way to get a free PDF via the WWW, you can just send an e-mail and politely ask for a copy of the paper. If the researcher in question is still active and has an interest in being read and published, there´s a good chance you´ll get a nice reply containing the PDF in no time.

Ask a Buddy

It´s always handy to know at least one professor, post-doc, or Ph.D. student. Even if they do not work in the specific field that you are interested in, there´s a good chance they can obtain a paper via their university´s database subscription – and e-mail it to you. Use this method sparingly as this group of people tends to work about 150 hours per week.

Pray

Just kidding. If the aforementioned six way don´t work, you’re probably screwed.*

 

*If you know additional ways of obtaining free research PDFs, please leave a comment below this article.

10 great Ways to stay up-to-date on Positive Psychology (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.)

Keep calm and study Positive PsychologyLuckily, the field of Positive Psychology is growing fast. Yet sometimes, it can be hard to stay up-to-date with all the latest studies coming out, books being published, articles and blog posts being written – and all the other exciting PP stuff that happens around the globe 24/7.

Below, you’ll find 10 social networking and news groups that you might want to join to be part of the ongoing conversation on all things Positive Psychology.

Please note that some of the groups might have a restricted access and/or posting policy. Anyway, I would like to encourage you to read the corresponding FAQs and “house rules” (e.g., on advertizing) before actively participating. See you there…

LinkedIn

Facebook

Google+

Twitter

XING (the German LinkedIn, sort of…)

American Psychological Association (APA)

The Ultimate Piece of “Positive Technology”? The Driverless Car!

Traffic Jam

Via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Yesterday, I did something that I have done just twice this entire year: I drove a car.

I was booked to give a talk in a smalller city near the North Sea coast and had to drive up there for about three hours. As I do not own a car, I had to rent one and then took to the famous German Autobahn. Yes, you´ve read correctly: I´m a German man and I don´t own a car. And in fact, I´ve never had one and I probably never will in this life.

And yesterday, I was powerfully reminded of why this is the case: because it´s a stupid waste of time. I wonder how many billion hours of human consciousness are lost each and every day because people have to sit behind a steering wheel staring at the car in front of them (or the empty road if things go well). How many books could be read in that time? How many blog posts or love letters could be written? How many business plans could be created?

I wonder how many billion hours of human consciousness are lost each and every day because people have to sit behind a steering wheel staring at the car in front of them.

Ok, not each and every country has the same quality public transportation system as Germany does (I take busses, trains, and the occasional cab to go basically everywhere). And yes, I do concede some people have fun while driving. Supposedly, it gives them a sense of freedom and being in control. And yes, driving a car, you can listen to music, you can make phone-calls using a hands-free kit, and you could even see driving as a mindfulness exercise – but let´s be honest here: how many people really do this on a regular basis? It´s no surprise that CEOs and other “VIPs” typically have a chauffeur. Their time is seen as too valuable to be driving a car. But isn´t that true for all of us?

That´s why I believe that driverless cars will be one of the most important pieces of (positive) technology to hit the market in the near future. Yes, it´s not that far away. If you´re interested, please check out this superb article that´ll tell you that they are already driving around on our streets, at least in some parts of the USA – and they are already (at least) as safe as the average human driver.

The point of market entry can and will be postponed by a couple of years, mostly because of juridical problems in the context of accountability (Who´s responsible when a driverless car causes an accident?) – but as always, those things will be worked out at the end of the day. Market entry will probably be postponed by the car manufacturers themselves, because they will – ironically –  be the biggest losers in this game (and that´s some very bad news for Germany, as millions and millions of jobs depend on the automotive sector). But it´s going to happen.

Here´s what we´re going to see in my imagination: Google will buy Tesla and afterwards Uber. Google has the navigational data and the necessary technologies in robotics and visual detection, Tesla has premium eco-friendly cars and especially the battery technology, and Uber will supply the reservation system. Of course, there could be lots of other contestants, but I don´t think this stunt can be pulled of by small start-ups – there´s too much money involved in R&D.

So, why is all of this bad news for car manufacturers?

Because personally owning a car is one of the most inefficient things a lot of us do. Cars that are not commercially used just stand around at least 90% of the day. And when we use them, we use them inefficiently. We´re driving alone most of the time instead of using up all of the available space, and we´re bad drivers in the sense that we do not take the shortest available route, that we create traffic jams, and so on. So basically, once the technology will be market-ready, the demand for cars is going to plummet to (my personal estimation) some 20% percent of the current level within a couple of years. This is also consistent with most surveys of Gen Y – most of them want connected and flawless mobility, but do not want to own a car. We will need to have a sufficient supply of driverless cars and they will have to be replaced regularly because they will be used almost without rest periods. And of course, some people still will want to own a car – just because. But otherwise, there´s going to be a lot less of them. And believe me, this is very(!!) good news for mankind, except for the automotive industry (and cab/truck drivers, probably).

Driverless driving means

  • more efficient usage (less standstill, more car sharing, always use of shortest distance etc.) = less cars = less use of fossil fuel/less pollution and other natural resources (this also pertains to the manufacturing process);
  • saver travel as driverless cars will produce far less accidents. More than 30.000 people are killed in the USA per year in car accidents. Most of those are caused by human error. Driverless cars will overlook fewer objects and they will also communicate with each other. This will not only minimize accidents but will also more or less eradicate traffic jams – as cars will be driving in a kind of convoy and otherwise, actively try to avoid crowded routes;
  • less stress and burnout and other health-related issues (see this Time article for an overview over negative effects of commuting);
  • massive unharnessing of human consciousness as people will be able to concentrate on more productive issues that steering a car from A to B.

The biggest hurdle to take (apart from the juridical challenges mentioned above) is the quality and cost of the visual detection unit that ensures the autonomous car does not hit other objects. The one that Google uses right now for their projects supposedly costs around 80.000 US$ per unit. But if you take a look at, e.g., the development of the cost for computer storage over the past decades, you basically know it´s just a matter of time until a system will be available for the mass market.