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POLM876: Effective Library Research for Politics Dissertations: 4. Find: Where to Search

Online support to assist with planning and conducting your library dissertation research

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

In addition, the Politics & International Relations Subject Guide provides details of core politics resources and library information.

1. 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.

Run some searches for material related to your dissertation using Library Search. Note down any sources you may wish to return to in your Search Strategy Template.

Library Search

When you use Library Search you will see search results via two tabs

1. Catalogue

2. Articles + more

A search for socialist economics in Library Search returns the following catalogue results. Note the type of content. There is a mixture of print and electronic texts.

This search finds matches in book and journal titles (and in brief details such as subject terms, contents page listing details).  For more granular searching within the content of books and journals you should use the Articles + more feature of Library Search and the research databases.

You will find many results on the Articles + more tab than the Catalogue tab if you were to run the same socialist economics search

In addition to all the content in the Catalogue tab, there is also a wide range of content from various full text resources, with journal articles, book chapters and other full text resources that match your search terms.

Articles + more 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.  

 

Activity: Library Search

 

Click here to complete this short interactive activity on how to make the most of Library Search.

2. 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.  

As well as finding research literature databases, you can pinpoint other sorts of databases such as news resources, official publications, statistics, audiovisual material etc.

To find databases, use the A-Z list

Use the 'Databases Targets' section of your Search Strategy Template to capture details of any databases that look useful.  You can then explore those databases later.

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

The exercise you completed earlier, to work out which types of information you needed,w ill help you pinpoint the material you needed.

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

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 Columbia International Affairs Online, which is a valuable source of information on politics and international relations; pulling together a range of information sources from global think tanks.

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