Finding and using information
ASYNC content 22/23
- Start to Finish: Searching (pulls together the online and face to face content we have around searching)
- Finding and locating images (this will be a number of blog posts linked to our Special Collections digital images which the students will be able to search and download to use in their coursework) — see next bullet points
- Thinking, reading and writing critically (online resource).
- Evaluating information sources (blog post)
- Identify an appropriate tool to use finding information for your specific purpose;
- Identify and use key databases in your discipline;
- Identify and use relevant specialist information in your discipline;
- Develop an awareness of a wide range of information sources available to use in academic work;
- Develop strategies for assessing the appropriateness of sources to use in your assignments;
- Discriminate between good-quality academic sources and other sources.
This resource has been created to help you find high quality information for your project. We’ll look at a range of sources of information and the ways you can critically evaluate the information you find.
Have your topic in mind when working through this content and apply the principles and strategies to your topic. Throughout this content I will be using an example topic:
“How has contraception affected women’s role in society?”
Spend some time thinking about your own topic. What are the key concepts? Once we have identified these concepts it can be very useful to think about how other people might describe those ideas by thinking about synonyms and related concepts. For example, if I was looking for information about an average rise in temperatures across the world I might search for “global warming”. Another author might write a paper about the same topic but use the term “climate change” instead. If I was interested in information from the field of politics I might find the idea described as the “climate crisis”. I want to find information that uses any of these terms.
Collecting and combining your search terms
It’s worth spending a little time writing down the key terms and related ideas that you have thought of. You might do this as a bubble diagram, with each key term in its own bubble and all of the related ideas linked to it. Or you might write it down in a table, with each key term having its own column. Whatever works for you!
The next step is to think about how we combine our search terms when we put them into our database or search tool. There are two main ways to combine our terms: ‘OR’ and ‘AND’:
- We use ‘OR’ to combine terms that are of a related concept. Using our example we might search for ‘contraception OR birth control OR family planning’. This returns results which feature any of those terms.
- We use ‘AND’ to combine different concepts together. Using our example we might search for ‘contraception AND women’s roles’. This returns results which feature both of those terms.
Most databases allow you to do both at the same time, so you could search for:
(contraception OR birth control OR family planning) AND (women’s roles OR women’s rights OR careers)
Sources of information
Once we’ve come up with our search terms and how to combine them we need to think about sources of information that will help us to answer our question or support our argument.
PLEASE EMBED SOURCE EVALUATION 1.0
PLEASE EMBED SOURCE EVALUATION 1.1
PLEASE EMBED SOURCE EVALUATION 2.4
Databases and search tools
Now that you have identified the types of information you are looking for and how you might evaluate them we can look at where we can find information. In this section we will look at tools that can help us to find scholarly information sources, such as journal articles. We’ll look at getting more out of search tools you’ve probably used before and then look at some tools you might not have come across. We’ll consider the Library’s Special Collections, how to access them and why you might use them in your project. We’ll finally touch on where you can find non-scholarly sources such as newspapers and films/broadcasts through the Library.
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 2–2.3
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 2.6
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 2.7
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 3.0 (note to eLearning — please remove activities 1–4)
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 1.0
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 1.1
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 1.2
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 1.4
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 1.6 (please can the link in the activity be changed to: https://subjects.library.manchester.ac.uk/socialanthropology/databases/)
PLEASE EMBED FINDING INFORMATION 1.7
“The University of Manchester Library is ranked second in the UK and globally within the top five university special collections; in a number of fields it is world leading.”
The Library’s Special Collections is full of amazing things — from the oldest known fragment of the New Testament to the Manchester Medical Collection to the computing records during Alan Turing’s time at the University. Within the collections are documents, records and manuscripts which may have never been studied, meaning you could be the first person to include them in your research!
You can find out more about our on our website:
The University of Manchester Library is ranked in the top five university special collections in the world; in a number…
To learn about how critical analysis can help you to incorporate special collections into your research read the MLE Blog, Using Special Collections in your work:
Using Special Collections in your work
In this post we will introduce you to what special collections are, their importance, and how we can use critical…
Popular sources through the Library
The Library specialises in providing access to the highest quality scholarly sources. We also provide access to some popular sources such as newspapers, broadcasts and films.
In our Newspapers guide you’ll find tools allowing you to search across UK and international news titles.
PLEASE EMBED THE HELP AND SUPPORT AND FEEDBACK BITS