What is the best way to go about to find a certain research group that do work in a specific field (e.g research groups doing empirical brain investigations but working from a dualistic perspective, or research groups doing eyetracker work on infants)?
Well, I find reasonable numbers for research groups focusing on eyetracking by using Google and search operators. Of course, you should add some redundant similar terms (eye-movement, baby,...)
Notice, there are some patterns:
american universities nearly always have edu (actually it's even a domain) in their URL, german univ. uni. So using
inurl:eduin google filters out a lot. Non-university institutes like german Max-Planck often have URL patterns too.
-filetype:pdf -filetype:doc -filetype:ppt -filetype:psto filter out more useless results
2010..2012to be sure the site/group is still active and the topic on their agenda.
research | forschung(latter being german translation, but afaik nowadays most natural sciences groups in Germany have a english (& german) page)
Some research branches also have a online directory, there exist also internet directories like dmoz (not sure if this stuff is up to date, probably some dead links):
At least I can say that most research groups in Germany will have a english home page and short summary/research topics/open positions on it. So there should be no general problem to find them by some "serious" googling. But don't use too specific keywords, "eyetracking on infants", "dualistic view" is too special imho, use keywords being specific rather to the topic than the exact methodology. They are probably mainly interested in how the visual recognition system adapts and learns over time, this is the bigger thematic picture. You attract master and phd students not by naming a special experimental method, so you will not find these type of keywords often on a group page, where they often try to put in a minimum of time.
I would try the following, in order of "how useful the results will be":
If you know someone - anyone - in the field, have them recommend names of labs/professors to you. The names they give you will likely be people relevant to their research who have done solid research, and have really established their names in the field. This is the best approach.
If you have access to journal articles, find a good journal in field X and look for a recent paper. There are two ways to do this one:
- Look in a couple of articles that seem interesting and see which authors are cited most often in the "introduction" section. Chances are, those authors have completed some recent seminal work, which all these other papers are using as their research springboard.
- Look for a review paper, and see who is cited often. This isn't such a good method, as I've found that many review articles will be fairly biased towards themselves/their collaborators, but it still can be useful.
Go to any big-name university's department web page for field X and browse the faculty listings. This is a total crapshoot; you'll find lots of labs, but there's no surefire way to tell quality of lab from their department web page.
Frequently formalized groups of academics hold conferences, or if it is a more specialized field they are frequently part of a broader conference but have special panels/proceedings/meetings within the larger conference.
So possibilities of finding such groups are;
- Looking at the CV of authors in the field to see if they are members of such organizations or have presentations at said conferences.
- Looking for conferences in the broader field, and seeing if they host research on specific topics.
Other possibilities include email list-serves and forums. I'm not sure if I have any better advice to find such groups than besides doing regular internet searches though.
If you know specific search terms you're looking for, you could begin by searching Web of Science for the specific combinations you're looking for, and then following up on the specific groups that are returned by such a search.
You may need to use some creativity in narrowing down the search criteria to avoid getting 5000 hits that you need to sift through, but there are a large number of possible "narrowing" options on Web of Science (year of publication, location, sorting by citations, etc.) that can help you.
I found one possibly relevant result searching Mendeley for your topic of interest. The advantage of using Mendeley over Google is that you can limit your search to researcher profiles. On-site people search is a little broken sometimes, so you might have better luck actually doing a Google search but limiting it to Mendeley profiles like this: https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=eyetracking+site%3Amendeley.com%2Fprofiles%2F