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How to Search

Where do I search?

This section will give you top tips for choosing appropriate resources for your research.

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

  • Recognise the importance of a reading list, and the difference between reading and self-discovery.
  • Identify what sources of information you can use.
  • Recognise the features of different types of information sources.
  • Understand what different information sources can be useful for.
  • Identify the best databases, platforms, and websites to find information.

The Information Landscape

Where do you look for information? What sources are you familiar with already?

We all have an information landscape, and it is worth reflecting on the sources you are familiar with.

We will begin to explore the other sources that will help you with your studies and wider reading. In the video, sources that are more reliable and are of academic quality will be easier to find in the landscape quest. Sources that are more opinionated will be harder to find.

My Information Landscape


Television - Film - Radio - Photography - Art - Performance - Music


Blogs - Social Networks - Chat rooms/Forums - Podcast - Websites - Published information - Company information - Government information - Professional Organisation

Specialist Data

Statistics - Patents - Legislation - Case Law - Standards - Archives



Academic journals


Tutors - Teachers - Supervisors - Family - Friends - Peers


Dictionaries - Encyclopaedias - Handbooks - Reference books - Textbooks - Monographs - Novels - Plays - Poetry - Newspapers - Magazines - Other Periodicals - Biographies - Instructional

Save time with reading lists

Reading lists are created by your module leaders and are available in your BlackBoard module. It is all your recommended reading in one handy place! Reading lists can provide structured reading for each module, helping you to gain an insight into topics.

The List includes links to all your essential reading including any digital resources such as eBooks.

eBook: Short for electronic book, it is a digital form of a printed book designed to be read on devices like computers, tablets, or smartphones. Most eBooks, you can add notes and search through the text with ease.

Library Search

Library Search is a powerful tool on Library Online which gives you wider access to the high-quality academic resources you need.

You can search the online book collection, read full text journals and many other sources.

You can enhance your knowledge further by self-discovering additional reading for lectures and seminars.

Can’t I just Google it?

Search engines like Google only index a fraction of the information on the web. This means that lots of academic information is hidden behind paywalls. The Library can help you to access the specialist materials you need for your research.

Paywall: a system that prevents users from accessing content without a paid subscription.

Interactive activity

Click the image below to access an interactive activity on where to search. There are some multiple-choice questions at different points during the activity to help reinforce your learning.

Click this image to open a page with an interactive activity.


To assist you in your studies, we recommend downloading the attached glossary, which contains valuable definitions for new and technical vocabulary you may encounter.


  • Search engines like Google are great for initial background searches, but they can’t always provide you access to good quality, academic resources.
  • Instead, use Library Search to enhance your knowledge further by discovering resources.
  • Find all your recommended reading in your Reading Lists.
  • Use the subject guides to go the extra mile by finding specialist resources.
  • The Information Cycle can help you when selecting the most appropriate resource in terms of reliability and currency.

Adsetts Library
Collegiate Library

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