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I am here to help
I am available to help you throughout the academic year. Please e-mail me with a requested date and time, and a brief description of your topic. I'd be delighted to meet you
1. Define your topic
It might seem obvious, but the first step is to make sure you
understand the topic.
1) Identify the main concepts or keywords in your
question to help you develop a search strategy.
2) Work out why the topic is being offered. Is it:
controversial ? complicated? what makes the topic interesting?
2. Gather background information
Use dictionaries and encyclopaedias to find definitions and background information. Articles from specialized subject encyclopaedias are authoritative and often substantial.
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3. Think about what information you need
- How much information do you need? Lecturers often give guidelines on the number of sources you should use.
- Do you need current information or is older material relevant?
Sometimes you might need both, as you might have to give both the
historic background and the current thinking on a topic.
- Do you need primary sources that give an original accounts from the time and place, or secondary sources which are interpretations of someone else's work?
If you don't understand what you have to do for an assignment, ask your lecturer, your tutor or someone at the Learning Skills Centre.
4. Find books
Search the Library catalogue:
- Check for books on Restricted Loan for the course.
- Use Title and Keyword anywhere searches to find additional material.
- When you find a useful title, click on its subject headings to find books on similar subjects.
- Browse the library shelves in the classification sequence for Russian
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5. Find journal articles
The catalogue lists journal titles, but not the titles of the articles inside the journals. To find these you'll need to search the recommended databases for Russian (see above left).
If you can't find the kind of information you want on these databases, ask a subject librarian - we can help you choose the right database and the right keywords to use.
6. Find information on the internet
The internet has a lot of information, but not all of it is useful
or reliable. Consider the source of the page. Suitable sources are
- an academic or university department
- a research institute
Use the Advanced Search features of Google to restrict your search to results from reputable sources.
Do not use articles directly from Wikipedia, although you can use its content (eg keywords or phrases) to search other sources
Use Google Scholar to find reliable journal articles. Adjust the Scholar Preference to recongnise the University of Canterbury, and you will get full text whenever it is available through our library subscriptions.
7. Evaluate your sources
References recommended on reading lists will already have been evaluated for quality. You'll need to evaluate sources that you find yourself. Think critically about the information you find. The quality of your information has an effect on the quality of your assignment.
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evaluating your sources
9. Cite your sources
Look professional and keep out of trouble by citing all the sources
of information you use in your essay, using the MLA citation style.