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PKG 495: PACKAGING SEMINAR

Learn how to find packaging information and resources.

Choose a Topic

In order to decide on a topic to study it is important to browse current books and periodical articles to see what others are researching in areas such as new technologies, packaging materials, recycling, etc. Browse current resources:

Research Strategy

Define your research topic or question:

  • Write one or more sentences defining your research question.
  • Example: What type of plastics such as LDPE or pvc have better tensile strength for packaging?

Define terms you don't understand, ex: stretch film

Make up a list of keywords on your topic, breaking the topic into concepts:
(Note: For the best results use similar terms or synonyms)

  • Concept 1: elastic film, plastic film, stretch film
  • Concept 2: tensile yield, tensile strength
  • Concept 3: plastics, polymers, low density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, LDPE, pvc 

Combine terms using Boolean Operators (Connectors):

  • AND = Narrows search, combines terms (stretch film and tensile strength)
  • OR  = Broadens search, similar terms (tensile yield or tensile strength)
  • NOT = Narrows search, excludes terms (LDPE not pvc)

Search Statement Example:

(elastic film or stretch film) and (tensile yield or tensile strength) or (low density polyethylene or LDPE)

Each concept within the parenthesis is searched first (OR operator), then each concept is combined using the AND operator. This is called nesting.

Truncation or Wildcards: Different symbols can replace certain letters in terms.  Most databases use * (asterisks) or ? (question marks) for different endings of a term, ex: accident, accidents, accidental. To determine what symbol to use look at the help screens of the index or database you are searching.

Research Methods

Research is based on the investigation of a topic to produce new knowledge and build upon the work of other scholars. Researching a discipline can utilize different methods. Certain methods of research which may be good for one academic discipline, may not be appropriate for another.

For your Packaging assignment you may use the Historical Method or Scientific Method.

The Historical Method uses these techniques:

  • Develop a question to investigate.
  • Gather relevant theories.
  • Construct a hypothesis, if appropriate.
    • Hypothesis definition: an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved.
    • Example: the need to understand consumer perceptions in order to correctly design product packaging.
  • Organize evidence, verify authenticity and sources.
  • Select, organize and analyse evidence, draw conclusions
  • Communicate results, ex: research paper.

The Scientific Method utilizes these techniques:

  • Develop a question to investigate.
  • Do a backround search.
  • Construct a hypothesis.
  • Test the hypothesis by doing an experiment.
  • Analyze the data and draw conclusions.
  • Communicate results, ex: research paper.