Searching for credible and relevant resources for your assignments can be confusing and you can easily waste a lot of time by searching in the wrong places and for the wrong things. This is why planning your search is so important as a good plan will find better results, help you structure your time and resources and result in a much better piece of work.
You can think of the planning and searching process like this
You can find a short video explaining how to plan your search within the Video playlist page.
Slides used during our online workshop are included on the next tab and are also available from the Downloadable resources page.
The examples below show how you can use Step 2 from the Planning cycle to identify the concepts from your assignment question.
You now have the keywords and phrases you need to start building up your search. However, you may now need to think about limiters such as date ranges, population groups, geographic region etc, so add notes about those into your search strategy too. Have a look at the Search Tools page in the left hand menu to see how you can develop a more effective search using some simple tricks and tools.
You can map out your search strategy in whatever way works for you.
Some people like lists and so plan their search strategy out in a grid-box or table format. Some people are more visual and like to draw their strategy out using a mind-map approach (either on paper or using mind-mapping software). Some people use sticky notes or Trello or a spreadsheet.
If it works for you then as long as it enables you to search systematically and thoroughly there's no need to change the way you work.
If your search strategies are not very developed, the method you use doesn't lead to a good search, then consider using one of the other methods to see if changing your approach helps.
Library Search is our main search tool to discover a wide range of resources once you have developed your search strategy. The video playlist below gives guidance on how to find you way around Library Search and how to use the Simple or Advanced searches.