ASK Online Learning Resources 1.1: Finding Information – Knowing where to look

Hi there. As a student at Newcastle
University you’re going to need to develop your skills as an independent
researcher. This means asking your own questions, exploring your own subject and
knowing where to look for answers. Let’s see how the library can help. Every good assignment, essay, final year dissertation and thesis is supported by well
researched information. But to find that information you need to look in the
right places. You might be tempted to start with Google and Wikipedia but to
find relevant high-quality information that you can really rely upon and trust,
information that your lecturers will expect you to use, you’re going to need to
dig a bit deeper. So where should you look? First point your browser to
Newcastle University Library website. Here you’ll find our powerful library
search system. This is a great starting point for your research – it allows you to
find quality information from lots of different sources and subject areas as
well as discovering important books, yes you still need to use books, you can also
get instant online access to popular electronic resources and academic
articles. And don’t forget you can use library search to find items in Special
Collections – our archive of rare, unique and historical publications. Next take a
look at the library’s subject support pages. Here you’ll find an up-to-date
list of the very best places to look for specialist information in your subject
area along with useful research tools and popular websites you’ll also find
links to important academic databases. You can use these databases to search
for literature that’s been reviewed and checked for accuracy by leaders in your
field. It’s information of the highest quality
that will help enhance any assignment or essay you write. And best of all, as a
student at Newcastle University you can access them all for free. Which leads us
nicely to Google Scholar this is a popular academic search engine that you
can use to find information from many different sources.
It looks and works just like a standard Google search but the results you get
are restricted to academic literature and where you need to pay to access an
articles full text you can often link through to our library search system to
do this for free. A word of caution however, Google Scholar doesn’t have
access to every research repository and its results are not always as reliable
or as well organised as you might think. It’s a great tool but don’t be tempted
to ignore your specialist subject databases.
So there you have it, as a successful independent researcher you need to find
and use good quality information from a wide variety of sources in your work.
It’s the first step to building your knowledge of your subject. It’s also a
skill that your lecturers want to see, a skill that will get you better marks and
a skill that graduate employers are looking for.

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