This page gives you 9 tools for finding and using information for your essay.
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
2) Work out why the topic is being offered, and what makes the topic interesting. Is it:
controversial? complicated? does it require comparisons?
3) What parts of the topic do you already know plenty about? Where are the gaps in your understanding or knowledge?
Answering the above questions will help you formulate a search strategy.
Reading about the topic will give you further ideas -you may want to come back and define your topic a little more later.
Use dictionaries and encyclopaedias to find definitions and background information. Articles from specialized subject encyclopaedias are authoritative and often substantial.
Check here for reference material on computer science.
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.
Search the Library catalogue:
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
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, phrases, associations of ideas) 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.
Read more on:
See our writing guides page for books which have useful hints for writing in literary studies and humanities subjects.
Visit the Learning Skills Centre for workshops and/or personal help.
Make a note of the sources that you are using as you write, including page numbers for any quotations. This will make it easier and quicker to create your bibliography.
If you would like individual help in planning or putting together your essay check out the Learning Skills Centre website (http://www.lps.canterbury.ac.nz/lsc/) to see what they offer and to make an appointment time with one of their staff.