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“Serendipity” has both a classical origin in literature and a more modern manifestation where it is found in the descriptions of the problem solving and knowledge acquisition of humanities and science scholars. Studies of information retrieval and information seeking have also discussed the utility of the notion of serendipity. Some have implied that it may be stimulated, or that certain people may “encounter” serendipitous information more than others. All to some extent accept the classical definition of serendipity as a “fortuitous” accident. The analysis presented here is part of a larger study concerning the information-seeking behaviour of interdisciplinary scholars. This paper considers the nature of serendipity in information-seeking contexts, and reinterprets the notion of serendipity as a phenomenon arising from both conditions and strategies – as both a purposive and a non-purposive component of information seeking and related knowledge acquisition.”

Allen Foster, Nigel Ford, (2003) “Serendipity and information seeking: an empirical study”, Journal of Documentation, Vol. 59 Iss: 3, pp.321 – 340


I like this word – serendipity. I think research projects bring this on. That must be the best thing about ‘researching’. You may start with a question, make a research design, use a method to start investigating but by the time you finish, you come up with something that no one else thought of before. Perhaps a new discovery, another point of view or simply a once in a million chance of anything ever happening. Who knows? “I research, therefore I am”


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