Always start by looking at the recommended reading for each module you are studying on Canvas or at moduleresources.sunderland.ac.uk
When you need to read more widely around your subject, you may want to follow these steps.
Plan your search
• What information do you need to find? Think about the topic you need information on and decide which focused and specific words best describe your topic.
• What type of information are you looking for? Think about the level of information you need and where you would find this information. For example, a website may give you an overview of a topic, a book may provide a detailed explanation, a peer-review journal may provide research, a database may provide statistics.
• Where should you look for this information? Library Search (books and e-books, journals articles), Databases A-Z, Journal Titles.
Where to look
• Start at Library Search to search across our collections and our subscriptions - select either the 'Books and eBooks' or 'Journal Articles' radio button.
• Look at Databases A-Z if you need to look for a specific type of information such as marketing research or statistics.
• Consult subject-specific resources recommended by your Academic Liaison Librarian.
Focus your search
• Identify suitable keywords, including synonyms, for your topic.
• Be prepared to change your search as you go if you cannot find what you need.
• Add keywords to make your search more specific. Remove keywords to make your search broader.
• Use filters and advanced search options within Library Search and different databases to increase the relevancy of your search results.
Evaluate what you find
• Who is the author? What authority or expertise do they have on this topic? Could they be biased on this topic?
• Why was the source created? Who funded or approved this source?
• When was the source last updated? Is this information still relevant or has it been superseded by further research?
What is 'peer review'? Peer review is the "evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field"* and is used to maintain quality and provide credibility. You can filter your results in Library Search to only show peer-reviewed articles. You should still always evaluate sources yourself to be sure the information meets your needs.
Look at our study guides for finding and evaluating information here: library.sunderland.ac.uk/services-and-support/skills/guides/research-skills/finding-and-evaluating-information
Record what you read
Always record what you find, including where and when you read it. This will make it easier to retrace your steps if you need to. Anything you use to write your assignments will need to be included in your bibliography and your reference list.
Look at our study guides on referencing here: library.sunderland.ac.uk/find-resources/referencing
* 'Peer Review' (2020) Available at: https://www.lexico.com/definition/peer_review (Accessed: 12 June 2020).