Library Research Skills Tutorial About the tutorial
Using Resources

Key points

This module has provided training in using the range of resources that you might consult during your research. This information will help you to locate, access and evaluate resources in a range of formats.

The key points to remember when using resources:

  1. Locating
    Use the library catalogue, or a union catalogue, to locate books and journals (and sometimes theses) in specific institutions. Use databases to identify relevant journal articles, but remember you then need to check if a library holds the particular journal title. There are a number of specialist tools available (books, websites and subscription databases) to help locate resources such as theses, archive repositories and government publications.

  2. Searching
    Contructing search strings using carefully chosen keywords and Boolean operators will enable you to search more effectively and reduce the number of results returned. Utilising extra features such as 'limiting' facilities and indexes will further refine your searches. Look at the 'help' or 'about' pages of databases and search engines to find out which search features are supported.

  3. Accessing
    To access online services that your institution has subscribed to on your behalf you may need to enter a username and password, always ask at the library for these.

  4. Evaluating
    It is important to evaluate all the resources you consult during your research, consider if they are relevant, authoritative, accurate and current. It is especially important to ensure that the websites you use are authoritative, there is a considerable amount of inaccurate, out-of-date, biased and illegal information available on the web.
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