Essential search skills and resources

Useful pages:

Here are are key skills for a student or researcher:

  • defining an information need (understand what kind of information you need)
  • creating an effective search (using keywords and search operators)
  • identifying an appropriate discovery tool (search engine, database or online resource)
  • assessing your search (did you find what you were looking for?)
  • evaluating what you find (in terms of currency, authority, accuracy, purpose and relevance)

We can help you develop these skills by:

Our basic search skills page can help you create an effective search and to broaden or focus it as needed. We have also developed the online support packages SMILE and PILOT which are arranged in sections to allow you to choose which parts are relevant to you.

For example:

  • identifying what information you need
  • effective searching
  • evaluating information
  • referencing and the ethical use of information
  • understanding research methods
  • writing a literature review
  • basic research skills such as questionnaire design, defining a practice based question using PICO and SPICE and planning your research project
  • what is "grey literature" and where you can find it