Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How do you solve a problem like researching for assignments?: Know the landscape

What will I learn in this section?

  1. What types of information is available to you.
  2. What are the characteristics of books and  journals.
  3. The benefits of using Reading Lists Online.
  4. How to recommend a book to the library.

1. Know the types of information or resources available to you

This is a picture of books and book shelves.

It is helpful to know what type of information is available to you and what you need when writing your assignments.

Sometime we need facts, images, current research, background information, protocols, data sheets, chemical data, primary data, original research articles, systematic reviews or review articles.

You need to know what this information is to be able to recognise it and decide if it is suitable to use to answer your assignment question. It is also really useful to know the differences between primary and secondary literature to help distinguish between a range of article types.

Different types of books

Some types of information are easier to spot than others for example... a book. However, even within the field of books there are different types of books aimed at different levels of expertise and purposes:

  • fiction
  • non fiction
  • textbooks
  • introductory books about a subject
  • specialist books
  • monographs

2. Know your sources

                             Activity 1: Know your sources

  1. Read through the list of different types of information and tick the boxes against the items that you know what they are.
  2. Look up any terms that are new to you in the Academic Glossary to find out what that type of information is.



Why am I doing this?

This is a really useful exercise to do because it helps you build up your academic vocabulary. For example when in seminar and your tutor asks you about a review will now be confident about what they mean when they say a review article!

3. Use your module Reading Lists!

Image of Reading List Online (RLO) logo

You can find your modules Reading List Online (RLO) list on the homepage of your Blackboard module.

Think of the reading list as your starting point within each subject! The list has been designed by your teaching team who are experts within these areas to help you develop your subject knowledge.

A reading list will include:

  • links to our online resources, including e-books and journal articles.
  • information about the books’ availability.
  • links to subject relevant websites like professional bodies or guidelines.

Will each reading list look the same?

  • Unlikely, as lists are flexible, adaptable and tailored to the needs of each module.

But lists should follow basic principles!

  • Each module should have a reading list.
  • It should list the details of the resources you need to use.
  • It should Include a link to the resource including the importance of the resource e.g. is it background or essential reading.
  • Some lists may include notes on a resource explaining why you need to read it.
  • Some lists may be broken into weeks or seminar reading.
  • Some lists may list all the resource you are expected to read.

                             Activity 2: Choose any module and access your reading list

You can find on your modules Reading List Online, on the homepage of your Blackboard module or you can search for your module by module name or module code in Reading List Online.

  1. Go to My Hallam.
  2. Login with your Hallam login.
  3. Go to the module - Professional and Scientific Practice 1: Labs and take a look at your reading list.
  4. Make sure you open the reading list and take a look at the resources.

You will be able to find information about the books’ availability e.g. where it is shelved in the Library if it is a print resource, links to online resources, including e-books and journal articles.

Take time to look at your essential texts and JoVE: Science Education which will help you prepare for your lab sessions.

4. This is me! Recommend a book to the Library

This is a multi coloured box overlaid on a Sheffield city centre image with the text - This is me.

One of the best things about a library is the collection keeps developing as teaching, learning and research changes. There will be more online resources like online journal articles in the Library collection today than there were yesterday!

You can be part of this growing collection by recommending books to the library for purchase. If you have read something and you think it would be a useful addition to the Library collection then let us know! You can do this using the form below.

We look forward to seeing what you recommend and welcome your help shaping the Library Collection.

5. Take a break

Congratulations you have completed two sections! 

Time to take a break - maybe some fresh air or a chat with a friend or a cup of tea!