As a researcher, you will want to know about the latest research being published in your field. Ideally, you would like to know about research, even before it's published. If you don't keep abreast with ongoing research, there is the risk that your literature review and bibliography will be incomplete or worse your research will duplicate what others have already achieved.
Alerting services enable you to find out about the latest research in your field soon after it's published. They can provide lists of new journal articles etc. targeted to your research topic, via either regular e-mails or an RSS feed to a web page.
Conference papers can provide useful insights about ongoing research in your field before it’s published.
Making contacts is useful for exchanging ideas and learning about research news, before it appears in journals. Ways to make contacts include: presenting a poster or a paper at a conference; and joining academic networking websites and/or mailing lists.
The BBC website is recommended for general news and current awareness.