The Library Catalogue can be a good place to start. Use the Catalogue to search across much of the material in the Library's collection.
Depending on what you need to find, and how comprehensive you need to be in your search, you may also need to use specialised databases.
Planning your search can save time by helping you to find appropriate, relevant material more quickly.
The search terms you use can make a big difference to what you find
Defining key terms and reading brief overviews of key aspects (e.g. theories) with which you are unfamiliar will help you to locate appropriate resources and put together your response to an assessment.
The Library has many reference and introductory works. The following are examples.
The collection includes works published in many countries (especially the US, UK and Australia) and various centuries/decades - and which may differ in policy, legislation, culture and other factors. Make sure that the work you are using is appropriate.
Do you need scholarly information? Is what you have located relevant and reliable? Are you uncertain whether to use the information you have found?
These guides will help in locating scholarly information and evaluating what you find.
Ask yourself a few questions...
|Who is the site targeted at?||Is the site aimed at a general or specialised audience? (What does the language tell you? Is certain knowledge assumed? Are there links to scholarly resources?)|
|Is the information detailed enough for your needs?||What level of detail is provided?|
|Does the information cover your topic in terms of time and place?||Does the site offer historical or current information (or both)? Is the information provided local, regional, national or international?|
|Is the author/producer of the information identified?||What does the web address tell you? Look for information about the author/producer e.g. on the home page or About us. Are contact details provided?|
|Does the author/producer of the information have the qualifications and/or experience to speak/write on this topic?||Is there information about the author's occupation, position, education and/or experience? Look for an author attribution, at the About Us or About this site pages, for an editorial policy or site policy.|
|Does the information come from an 'authoritative' source?||Who is responsible for the content of the website? You may need to truncate web addresses to find the site home page. How thoroughly has the information been edited or reviewed? Does the site indicate that material has been prepared or reviewed by experts in the field?|
|Is the information accurate?||How is the information presented - as fact or opinion? If the information is presented as fact can it be checked - are references provided? What kind of language is used? Is the information biased? (Has important information been excluded? Are a range of views represented?). Is the site designed to sell a product or service?|
|How recent is the information?||Depending upon what you're looking for, currency can be important. Is content given a publication date? Out-of-date links are one sign that a site may be no longer maintained and updated with the latest discoveries, projects etc.|
Save time by capturing the details of your references.
This will help you to:
Most search tools - including the Library Catalogue, Google Scholar, and databases such as Communication and Mass Media Complete allow you to easily save the details of references of interest. No need to write these down or copy and paste - create your own 'library' of references with a few clicks!
Before using these tools, you will need to learn the basics of the referencing style (e.g. Harvard UniSA, APA) that you have been asked to use.
Need advice on writing or presenting? Not sure how to organise your ideas?
The Library collection also includes many resources on academic writing and study skills - example search