You can use Library search to locate physical and digital resources.
As a student at Staffordshire University, you may borrow up to 17 items. Full details regarding borrowing entitlements are available on the Library website.
You need to learn to evaluate the books you read. Here are a few things to look for:
The following websites offer further guidance on evaluating books:
If you are unable to locate a book, it may be possible to acquire it via the Document Delivery Service. This service is for requesting books, journal articles, reports and conference proceedings that Staffordshire University Libraries do not hold in stock and are requested via the British Library. Once registered, you will be able to select and order books for home delivery or request documents for delivery direct to your desktop. This service is free.
More information about the Document Delivery Service can be found on the Library website.
You may have already scanned through some of your material when you selected it but now you will want to read it in more depth, to take notes or even discard it from your research if you realise it is not as useful as you originally thought.
This stage can seem long and sometimes frustrating and de-motivating, but there are techniques which will help you to do this effectively.
To read effectively you will need to concentrate and develop your understanding of the material. Also, because of the amount of material you will have to examine it will help if you try to increase your speed. Additionally it may help if you ask yourself the following questions.
Effective reading will also help with effective note taking. Try the following process:
This will also help you to select appropriate material, so do not be afraid to discard any material that you think is irrelevant.
We have a guide to academic reading has links to additional resources which will help you.
Note taking helps to record what you have read and should also help you to remember what you have read. For an assignment your notes should be accurate and detailed and should help you to structure your assignment. Use your plan to guide you with your note taking, identify and record the main points and check your understanding of any words or concepts that you are unfamiliar with.
Try to structure your notes in a way that will assist you with writing your assignment. The most common types of note taking are:
There are no set rules on how to structure your notes, and finding a method that bests suits you is important, you may even choose to use a combination of the methods listed above.
Selecting what to note can be the most difficult task, your effective reading skills should help you with this, but also look at how you want to structure your assignment and try to answer the following:
As you are going along, make sure you note the source of your information, this is especially important if you are going to include some quotes e.g.:
If you do this whilst you are note taking your task will be far easier, as trying to relocate references once you start writing your assignment can be extremely frustrating and it may feel like you are starting your research all over again!
Also, try to store your notes in an organised way, for example in a file, on your computer or in a notebook. It may also be useful if you date your notes.
Our guide to Note-Taking has links to additional resources which will help you.
Whether the information you have is a book from a reading list, a journal article, a newspaper article or someone's web page you need to treat each with the same amount of caution when you use it.
For books (especially books on a reading list) you would probably say that is easy because they are published, well referenced and often recommended by a respected individual like a tutor or a librarian. It is not so easy for e-resources, especially webpages or journal/magazine articles, which any one can publish and you can find them easily using Google.
For more information on how to judge the worth of journal or magazine articles have a look at the page What kind of information will help me? under Step 2.
For more information on how to tackle web pages see the page Can I use information from websites? under Step 4.
You can use this checklist to help you ensure you have completed the steps needed to understand how to undertake the research for your assignment effectively.