Beginning research

Get information help online via the Library's "Ask a Librarian" . You can chat or email any questions about finding and using resources to support your research activity.

Browse:

  • Use the questions that you had developed in response to your brainstorm on the topic and spend some time looking at or browsing for information.
  • Browsing is like shopping – look around before you buy!  See what is available before you start taking serious notes!
  • Browse in the section in the library where books on your topic are held or browse electronically.
  • If you have no idea about the topic, you could try googling the topic so that you get an idea of  what it is about in general.  Remember, Google Scholar will give you more academic sources than Google.
  • Remember that whatever you do, you nearly always need to cite academic, peer reviewed articles and books in your assignments.
  • Use key words, form questions and try any or all of the following:
    • Look at encyclopaedias, dictionaries and handbooks relevant to your subject area (see Subject Guides on the library home page).
    • Find key words from the contents and index pages of texts on your topic then use these to do a search in the library catalogue Library Catalogue.
Refine your questions:
  • Once you have some ideas about the topic, look at your research questions again and refine them, so that you come up with about five to ten questions on your topic. The exact number of questions will depend on your topic and word limit.
  • Use these research questions to guide your research and apply them to each text that you read.
  • Record the information you find under these research questions, so that you begin to sort out information as you take notes.