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Library resources

You can search Discover for books on literature reviews and literature searching. Some examples:


Some factors to consider when critically assessing information:

Currency: When was the resource published or produced? How up to date is it?

Relevance: Who is the intended audience for the resource? Is it relevant to your research topic?

Accuracy: How accurate is the resource? Are there any obvious mistakes?

Authority: How credible is the resource? Has it been peer-reviewed, or come from a reliable source?

Purpose: Why was the resource produced? Is it trying to convince you of a particular agenda or perspective?

The answers to these questions will help you make informed judgments about how to use information. For example, you might include one information source to address a limitation of another.

Literature searching

Whatever your project, these steps should help you find useful material:

  1. Formative searching
    • Clearly define what you are interested in, so you know what is relevant. What will you rule out?
    • Start with what you know. Check your module reading lists for useful texts, then check their index, chapter headings, and references for useful information.
    • Try a variety of search terms in Discover. Narrow and widen your search. See which approach produces the most effective results.
  2. Develop your search strategy
    • Your searching should be systematic, so it does not miss any useful information.
    • Also search for alternative terms for your topic. Look at the keywords in articles for further ideas, and to see how previous researchers have described your subject.
    • The other tabs (above) will give you ideas on where to look for information. It is a good idea to use more than just Discover or Google Scholar.
    • Many search tools also have Advanced Search options for more precise work. Options include result filters, Boolean operators, and using quotation marks to look for exact phrases.
  3. Follow the trails...
    • Once you have found useful material, you can follow trails to more useful material.
    • Look up relevant references, check what else an author has written, or use a citation tracker (like the tools in Scopus or Google Scholar) to see who has cited the work more recently.
    • Then follow the trails from these sources as well.

Ultimately, searching is not a linear process. The more you read, the more keywords, authors, topics, and questions you will encounter. This reflects your growing knowledge of the topic, and will help you adapt your search terms.

Remember to keep a note of your searching, so that you can repeat it if necessary, and also get due credit for it.

Evaluating information

Other help

  • Your Academic Librarian can advise on finding and using information.
  • The Skills for Learning pages offer further guidance on writing, searching and other useful topics. Workshops and drop-ins also operate at certain times of year.
  • In the books tab you can read how to access resources we do not currently have in stock.