This step-by-step guide provides a guide to finding information for your assignment.
Before you start, spend five minutes making a mind-map or list to nut out all of the words and concepts around your chosen topic, including synonyms and related concepts. This process will help you:
1. Clarify your topic
2. Break it into component parts or themes (and allow you to focus your topic and discard elements)
3. Identify key words to use in your searches.
You will find your information more effectively by asking the following questions about your key search words:
What synonyms or related words should be included in my search?
e.g. adolescents/ teenagers/youth climate change/ global warming
What about search words with variant endings?
Use truncation to find alternative endings of words e.g.global* will find global, globalisation, globalization etc
In many databases, the truncation symbol is an asterisk.
What about search words with different spellings?
You may need to include both British and American spellings of words. Either:
Experiment with combinations of search words to find a good range of articles on your topic.
The Library has subject dictionaries and encyclopedias that are excellent sources for definitions of sociological concepts, explanations of sociological theories and overviews of areas of sociological study.
Check Learn for recommended reading.
To search MultiSearch:
Other tips for finding books:
Use journals to find the latest academic research and analysis of a topic. Each issue of a journal will contain a number of different articles by different authors.
References on Learn or in your course outline have already been evaluated for quality. You will need to evaluate sources that you find yourself. Think critically about the information you find. The quality of your information will contribute to the quality of your assignment.
More on evaluating your sources