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Equine science

Resources and information for equine science

1. Understanding your topic

Before you start your research, spend time on analysing your topic.

 This involves:

  1. Reading the question carefully to understand what the task requires.
  2. Summarising the topic question in your own words.
  3. Doing some background reading on your topic to familiarise yourself with the subject. Suitable resources include lecture notes, text books, and encyclopedias. Check out the Equine Science reference books. 

Further information: Topic Analysis

2. Identify keywords and plan your search strategy

To conduct an effective search for information you must first identify keywords that will find the information you need.

Use our Search Strategy Planner to help with this step.

  1. Brainstorm your topic
  2. Create a list or the main subject words associated with your topic
  3. Include additional keywords that express similar ideas or spelling variations (synonyms)
  4. Focus - choose specific terms rather than general concepts
  5. Use formal / industry vocabulary rather than everyday language. Your background reading will help you identify appropriate terminology.

Further information 

3. Find relevant information

Search the library databases.

Databases are electronic collections of information that are searchable using keywords. They provide access to discipline specific research papers published in academic journals and specialised content such as reports or conference papers. Databases are available through the Library. Select "Databases" from the Search dropdown menu in Library Search and enter the name of the database in the search box, eg Web of Science. 

Read Searching in Databases to learn how to use databases to find articles. Try the databases on the home page.

Can I search Google?

You can use Google for some types of information

Do not rely on Google as your primary source of information for uni assignments, it can be useful for finding research reports that are not available in scholarly publications.

Read the Advanced Search section in Web Searching on how to find information from government agencies, non-government and professional organisations. This is called "Grey Literature". Then go to Google and try for yourself.

More about Grey Literature.

Tips for better searching

 Here are some tips to improve your searches:

  • Successful searching is an iterative process - if you don't find "good" articles the first time try again using different keywords
  • Check your spelling - incorrect spelling or typos will retrieve few or no results
  • Using AND between search terms will find articles containing both words-fewer but more relevant results, eg. (filly AND foal) 
  • Using OR between the same terms eg.(filly OR foal). Using OR to combine terms of similar meaning will increase results to find articles containing either or both of the words.
  • Use quotation marks around phrases to search for the exact phrase and increase the relevancy of the results, e.g. "equine behaviour".  
  • A single useful article can lead to many more - look at the reference list or citing articles as they will often be relevant as well

See: Search techniques for more information.

4. Evaluate the information

Tips to help you evaluate your sources: evaluating information

What is a 'scholarly' or 'peer reviewed' article?

At uni you are expected to use research articles from academic journals. 

Academics and researchers communicate the results of their research in articles which are published in academic journals. "Journal of Zoology" and "Nature" are examples of high quality scholarly journals where leading researchers publish their findings.

Scholarly articles are often referred to as ‘peer reviewed’ articles because they are reviewed by subject experts for academic rigour and quality prior to getting published. Scholarly and ‘peer reviewed’ articles always contain scholarly references and a bibliography. 

Watch Peer reviewed articles (YouTube, 1m51s)

For further information read our guide: peer reviewed articles