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How to Search

Welcome to this resource

This resource has been designed as a starting point to help you to define the information you need, work out the best search strategy, how to evaluate the information you find, and how to reference your work effectively.

Whether you are a new student or returning to your studies, this resource will help you on your way to becoming an independent researcher.

About this resource

The aim of the resource is for you to become an independent researcher in not only your studies, but also in your future careers and lives beyond university.

In a world where you can access a lot of information instantly, it is important to be able to find and evaluate a range of sources carefully.

The resource will provide a starting point for you to develop these skills. You will be able to put these into practice when you start researching your assignments.

It will help you to save time more effectively when finding information, so you can be successful at university.

By the end of this resource, you will be able to:

  • Identify an information need.
  • Choose appropriate resource types.
  • Plan an efficient search, targeting it to find relevant information quickly.
  • Evaluate sources to ensure you are using the most appropriate resource for your needs.
  • Understand the basics of referencing and how to access the referencing pathway.

How to Search

Often, when we set out to find all the information we need for an assignment, this can feel quite daunting. There is a lot of information available, and we need to be able to find the best information that fits our needs. It can feel like we simply do not know where to start.

A graphic demonstrating the search cycle. 1 Identify your information need. 2 Decide where to search. 3 Use Search techniques to search effectively. 4 Evaluate the sources. 5 Reference the sources you  use.

The How to Search model will help you as a framework when finding information. It can help you to break down all the key stages you need to follow when finding information. This will ensure that your searches stay focused.

The model is not prescriptive and not necessarily a linear diagram. You may find that you skip between stages over time.

How to use this resource

This resource has been structured to reflect the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. You can choose to follow the model around in order or select any sections that you need.

Sections include:

  • Defining the need for information
  • Deciding where to search
  • How to search effectively, in terms of key words.
  • Evaluate the sources, you find.
  • Using the sources you find by referencing effectively

On each page there will be information that you can read, animations you can watch, as well as interactive activities and mini quizzes.

On several pages, you can also choose to download a Microsoft Word resource. You are free to use these downloadable resources to help you in your research.

Adsetts Library
Collegiate Library

Sheffield Hallam University
City Campus, Howard Street
Sheffield S1 1WB