Effective searching for research
- Group: any
- Length: 50 mins
- Room: Lecture theatre or seminar room
- Discipline: any
- Level: Taught
After engaging with this support, you will be able to:
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different search tools
- Identify an appropriate tool to use for finding information for your specific purpose
- Identify and use key databases in your discipline
- Identify relevant sources from a list of search results
- Develop strategies for assessing the appropriateness of sources to use in your assignments
Suggested online resources
- Planning ahead: making your search work
- Knowing where to look: your search toolkit
- Finding the good stuff: evaluating your sources
- Know your sources: types of information
- Getting results: Guides to searching databases
- Search operators: wildcard OR NOT?
- Citing it right: Introducing referencing
- Subject guide
- Data and Stats
Introduction: The facilitator should introduce the class as covering effective researching. The session will cover setting up a useful search strategy by considering what types of information/evidence is available and the keywords to use to search, where to find that information and how to evaluate that information so that students have a set of relevant, objective and reliable results. It should be emphasised that it will be active session where students will work together.
The facilitator should introduce the research question that will be used for the class today as
Does the cycle to work scheme help to reduce the carbon footprint of higher education organisations?
Emphasise that when drafting a research question it is of value to consider and predict what information or evidence might be available to support the research, where it might be found and how to go about it. This is the simple search strategy. Also that there are 2 elements to what — what information and what keywords. (Slides 4–6)
Activity: In groups of 3 the students should discuss what kinds of information might support them in exploring this piece of research? Take feedback from the students and add it to the slide as it is fed back. The facilitator could write this on a white board and type up later. (Slide 7)
It should be mentioned here that capturing all of this and writing it all down is a part of the strategy.
Activity: The students should now refer back to the research question and consider the keywords that they might use to represent the concepts that have been lifted from the question. The students should list as many of these as they can and again these should be captured on a slide or white board. (Slide 10)
Direct instruction: This is where the facilitator should share the where aspect of the searching strategy, giving time to demonstrating some of the key search tools that are available to the students and referring back to the types of information that the students described earlier in the workshop. In particular they should point out Library Search, the subject guide/databases/data and stats and Google Scholar(Slides 11- 19)
Direct instruction: Here is the section on How where the facilitator will indicate how to construct a search using AND/OR/NOT using the venn diagram sand share how the students can make their searches more relevant by defining the scope of their search. (Slides 20–22)
Direct instruction: Finally the students should be in a position to consider how they might evaluate any information that they may have found. Upon showing them 5ws and H ask the students to draft and share as many questions as they can to evaluate the information that they would theoretically located. They should share these using the padlet that will be shared with them after the class in Bb. (Slides 23–24) (9 mins)
Wrap up: Signpost to help and ask the SCONUL question.
Internal ID: R19–0634