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Good library and research skills can save a great deal of time when searching for relevant material. First, identify the purpose of your research - are you looking for specific information, or reading around a topic more generally? Your starting point should then be the recommended material on your course reading list:

  1. Decide what you need to know.
  2. Check that the material is current and relevant.
  3. Evaluate the source of material.
  4. Check the quality of the information - websites and magazines aren't normally peer reviewed, whereas text-books and journals are.
  5. What is the purpose of the information?
  6. Has it been published for educational purposes, in which case it should be reliable. Be wary of commercial advertising which may be biased.
  7. Look for evidence that material is reliable and accurate:
  8. Look for references which provide evidence of research.
  9. Look for accounts of methodologies and research findings.

The University Library offers research and information services training, which include online and face-to-face elements.

IT literacy is one of the transferable skills that students are expected to develop while at University and proficiency will benefit your studies as well as your future career.  University Information Services (UIS) provides a wide range of IT-based courses free to University members.

To help you with referencing you may be interested in using bibliographic software such as EndNote, Mendeley, or Zotero.  Each of these programmes stores bibliographic references and notes about those references as you find them, saves the references you want for easy access, and then interfaces with your word processing software to create a bibliography and bibliographic citations while you type a document. UIS runs introductory courses on bibliographic software in both face-to-face and self-paced online formats.