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Education: effective library research: 4. Find: where to search

Online guidance to help you build your library research skills

Once you have decided what sort of research materials you want to work with, you can choose the best research tool to help you find that material. There are two Library Research tools that will help you find print and electronic primary and secondary materials:

1. Library Search

2. A-Z Databases

 

Don't just use Google for information!

Google will find lots of information and is a great tool for examining certain kinds of material such as blogs and other openly accessible web resources.  However, the information you find will vary greatly in terms of accuracy, currency and bias. Always evaluate the material for research quality.

As well as containing information that is not exposed through Google, the Library research tools also allow you to be more precise with your searching as they offer specialist research database features to improve your research discovery.

Explore the guidance on Library Search and the A-Z Databases below and then complete the self test activities to test your knowledge and understanding

Library Search Activities

Run a Library Search

A-Z Databases Activities

A-Z Databases

Finding Resources via Library Search

Library Search is  a good starting point for introductory material for your dissertation research.

You can search for your research topic(s) and quickly and easily retrieve details of print and electronic books, journal articles and other full text material.   

You can also use it to check whether we have particular books or journals you may discover during your literature searching.

 

Finding Resources using the A- Z Databases List

Library Search is often a good starting point for introductory material, but if you want to research the global literature on a topic, and go beyond quick full text results, then you should follow up with a database search. 

You can tailor your search more precisely using all the sophisticated functionality available on the research databases.  

Think of Library Search and the databases as 

complementary research tools and choose whichever best needs your needs as you move through your research.

To find databases, use the A-Z list

See the next tabs for help with finding the best databases for your topic.

Use the Database Targets worksheet to record useful databases as you explore.

Each entry in the A-Z database list has an information icon. Hover over that symbol for information about the content that is available in the database and an idea of why it might be useful for research purposes. Shown below is the information for Project Muse, which is a valuable humanities research database.

You can scroll through the A-Z and choose a database if you know exactly what you are looking for.

Select databases by Subject

You can select your subject from the drop down subject menu to see a subset of resources in that category.

The subject listings will highlight the 'core resources'; these are key databases that are likely to be of interest to anyone studying and researching in that area.

Your Subject LibGuide will also highlight recommended databases for you to explore.

Select databases by Type

You can select a database type from the drop down type menu to see a subset of resources in that category.

For example, you may want to focus on news, official publications or reference works databases

 

Research material can be drawn from a wide range of different types of information. You may wish to use specialist sources such as news items, statistical data, archival and audiovisual materials.

Find out more by visiting the Searching for specific types of information libguide

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