Before you start your research, spend time on analysing your topic.
Further information: Topic Analysis
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.
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.
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.
Here are some tips to improve your searches:
See: Search Techniques for more information.
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 this video on Peer Reviewed articles.
Further information: peer reviewed articles