Finding and using information

Finding and using information

Methods of creating and distributing information online have radically changed ways of finding and using information. The following 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?) and
  • evaluating what you find (in terms of currency, authority, accuracy, purpose and relevance).  

Developing these skills and strategies takes time and practice but the library provides support for you in a number of ways including identifying key resources in subject guides, offering drop-ins and appointments for one to one help and arranging classes and workshops to support your learning and research. 

Our basic search skills page can help you create an effective search using some common search operators to broaden or focus your search. We have also developed some 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

SMILE is designed for undergraduate students.
PILOT is designed for postgraduates, staff and researchers.