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Research Fundamentals: Step 2: Search tools & sources

Beginning that assignment...

Information sources brainstorm

Why should I use library databases

Tips for getting started

  • Identify the types of resources you will need i.e. peer-reviewed articles, case studies, books etc.
  • Use your Reading List to find relevant books, journal articles etc.
  • Find one good journal article and identify potential resources from the list of references.
  • Ensure that you understand the citation detail i.e. journal article, book chapter, web page.
  • Develop search terms using the keywords identified in Step 1. Consider synonyms etc.

Choosing resources for your assignment

The types of resources you choose for your assignment will be governed by the type of information you require.  The quantity of resources you require will depend on your level of research, the conditions set by your assignment question, and the complexity of your assignment topic.  In some cases you may only need to use one or two differerent sources. Check your assignment sheet or clarify with your teacher.


  • Good for understanding a topic
  • Can provide in-depth analysis & discussion 
  • Check the publication date to make sure information is current

Journal articles

  • Check for scholarly/peer-reviewed
  • Find current research
  • Narrower in focus
  • Reference lists & cited source

Conference papers

  • Papers presented at discipline specific conferences
  • Current research


  • Commentary or opinion
  • Overview current events/topic


  • Useful for defining a topic & background information

What is FindIt@?

FindIt@ lets you search the Library's digital and hard-copy collections from a single point.
Find out more about FindIt@