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Boost your research skills for your Built Environment dissertation

Welcome to the guide!

This is an image of books stacked in front of book shelves.

At university, you will be asked to complete a range of assignments. Each assignment, presentation and piece of group work has been building up your course knowledge, skills and abilities. It is now time to put all that you have learnt into practice and begin your dissertation!

This guide represents between one and two hours of study time.

The study time given does vary to factor in the range of research knowledge and search skills each student may have. Some tasks may take longer than others and if you read all the resources that are linked to from the guide and the journal articles, then the study time may be longer.

Is this the guide for me?

This guide is written to support Built Environment students studying within the Department of Natural & Built Environment at Sheffield Hallam University. 

The focus is supporting undergraduate and MSc dissertations / projects. The dissertation brief for the undergraduate and the MSc dissertation may share common elements but there may be differing levels of complexity required. You must make sure you read and follow your assignment brief to understand what is required for your dissertation.

The guide will help you develop the research skills you need to find high quality and specialist sources relevant to dissertations or projects.

If you are studying within another College or Department, you can find about more about generic search skills using the How to Search guide linked below.

1. How to use the guide

How to use this guide

The guide is split into sections. You work through the guide from top to bottom using the sections.

In each section you will find information to read, videos showing you how to do something with activities and quizzes to put your skills into practice and test your knowledge!  

You can move through the guide using the sections or the navigation buttons at the end of each page.

In each section, the content is arranged in one column and in linear order which means you can scroll down the screen box by box. All the boxes are numbered and include a title to make it clear what you are working on in that section.

When you see this symbol -                              Activity - this is your time to put into practice your skills, complete the activity and then return to the guide.

Be kind to yourself!

Some sections are longer than others. Each section, after this page, includes a Take a break box to encourage to take time to pause and have a rest from the screen, maybe stand up and take a walk in the fresh air or maybe grab something to eat or drink, Remember drink to think!

2. Let's try an activity!

Before you begin, lets take a snapshot of how confident you feel researching for information at university. Click the radio button that best describes your confidence levels. All responses on the polls are anonymous clicks. 

At the end of the guide, we will ask the same question at the end of the guide to see if there is any alternation to confidence levels. There will also be recommendations for you to follow to build and develop your skills further depending where your confidence levels are at the end of this process.

This is a picture of a light bulb.                      Activity 1: Answer the poll

How confident do you feel about finding the information you need for your dissertation?
Very confident: 0 votes (0%)
Confident: 1 votes (6.25%)
OK: 2 votes (12.5%)
Not confident: 2 votes (12.5%)
Need help: 11 votes (68.75%)
Total Votes: 16