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Library Subject Guides

Health Sciences: Assignment Research

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This guide outlines a simple, effective step-by-step approach to finding information for your assignment.

If you need individual help please do not hesitate to contact Margaret Paterson, the Health Sciences Librarian.

Define your topic and develop your search strategy

Before you start searching, spend a few minutes thinking about your question. It might help to create a mind-map of your ideas so you can identify themes and connections between them as well as think of useful keywords for your search. You will do a more effective search by considering the following:

What synonyms or related words might usefully be included in my search? e.g. smoking/tobacco   teenagers/adolescents

What about search words with variant endings?
This is specially important for finding both the singular and plural of search words. e.g.child* finds child/children/childhood
Note that in many databases you can use an asterisk at the end of the root word to find other endings.

What about search words with different spellings?
This is important when searching international sources. AskOxford provides a summary of the main differences between British and American spellings.

How do I connect my search words?
Use OR to connect synonyms and related words. Place brackets around words connected with or. e.g. (smoking OR tobacco).
Use AND when you want to focus your search by adding in additional words e.g. smoking AND health
More information about connecting search words

Experiment with combinations of search words to find the ones that retrieve the best information for your topic.

Begin with recommended readings in LEARN

Check your LEARN course for recommended readings. 

If there is a course text, this will be in the Library High Demand collection. You can find these by entering your course code into MultiSearch.

Find books

Search Multisearch and limit to either eBook or Physical Books

- If you are looking for a specific book, enter an author's name or a few words from the book title

- If you are looking for a book on a topic, enter a few keywords

When you find a relevant book, click on the Subjects links in the catalogue record to find more books on your topic.

Browse the library shelves in the classification sequences for Health Sciences. Remember that the Library has an increasing number of e-books. 

Find journal articles

Journals are scholarly publications and are where you will find the latest research on a topic. Each issue contains a number of different articles by different authors. 

You can find journal articles by searching MultiSearch or one of the many specialist health science databases we subscribe to.

Find information on the Internet

The Internet can be a rich source of information, but not everything will be useful or appropriate for academic writing. Web resources should be carefully evaluated and used in conjunction with the scholarly resources provided by the Library. 

Health Sciences students may, for example, search the Web to find Government reports, statistics and policy documents.

Evaluate your sources

 Think critically about the information you find. Here are some tips for evaluating your sources

Cite your sources

Avoid plagiarism by citing all the sources of information you use in your essay, using the APA citation style.

More on citing your sources.

Write your assignment


See our Writing Guides page for books that have useful hints for writing about Health Sciences subjects. Or contact the Academic Skills Centre based in Central Library.