Search Strategies

When you're looking for books, articles or other material for an assignment or dissertation, it helps to have a systematic approach.

Scope

  • Determine the precise scope of your topic. Check in specialised dictionaries or encyclopaedias for the meanings of specialist terms or for a basic overview of the subject.
  • Decide on the scope of your search; how much information do you need and what type?
    • How far back in time do you want to go?
    • Is your approach international or concentrated on this country?
    • Are you prepared to visit other libraries and organisations to do further research?

Analysis

  • Analyse your chosen topic carefully. Ensure that you have covered all the aspects of it that you intend to include in your final work.
  • Don't discount the fact that you may need to adjust your sights depending on how much - or how little - information you discover.

Keywords

  • Get an idea of the way your chosen topic is described in the literature or on the Internet. It's important to be aware of variant spellings or terms so that you can quickly home in on relevant material in books, databases, journals and other electronic sources including the Internet.

Evaluation

  • Always critically evaluate the material that you find whether it is a book, an article or a website. Make sure it really is relevant and appropriate to your needs.

Record

  • Keep track of the books, articles, websites, etc. that you find by recording the references as you go*. It can be very difficult to retrace your steps at a later stage. This also applies to anything you request on interlibrary loan.
  • Check with your tutor which method of citing references they want you to use. For more information, check our referencing guide.
*RefWorks is an excellent research management tool. Get started here.

Your subject librarian can also offer help and advice on your literature search.

Who is my subject librarian?

Art

Helen Rayner

Tel: +44 (0)1225 875648

h.rayner@bathspa.ac.uk

Biology

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Business and Management

Melissa Collier-Baker

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876050

m.collier-baker@bathspa.ac.uk

Commercial Music

Elisabeth Wallace

Tel: +44 (0)1225 87 6535

e.wallace@bathspa.ac.uk

Creative Computing

Melissa Collier-Baker

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876050

m.collier-baker@bathspa.ac.uk

Creative Music Technology

Elisabeth Wallace

Tel: +44 (0)1225 87 6535

e.wallace@bathspa.ac.uk

Creative Writing

Katie Rickard

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

k.rickard@bathspa.ac.uk

Criminology

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Dance

Elisabeth Wallace

Tel: +44 (0)1225 87 6535

e.wallace@bathspa.ac.uk

Drama and Performing Arts

Elisabeth Wallace

Tel: +44 (0)1225 87 6535

e.wallace@bathspa.ac.uk

Education

Elisabeth Wallace

Tel: +44 (0)1225 87 6535

e.wallace@bathspa.ac.uk

English

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Environmental Science

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Fashion, Textiles and 3D Design

Helen Rayner

Tel: +44 (0)1225 875648

h.rayner@bathspa.ac.uk

Film and Media

Melissa Collier-Baker

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876050

m.collier-baker@bathspa.ac.uk

Food with Nutrition

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Geography

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Graphic Communication

Helen Rayner

Tel: +44 (0)1225 875648

h.rayner@bathspa.ac.uk

History and Heritage

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

History of Art and Design

Helen Rayner

Tel: +44 (0)1225 875648

h.rayner@bathspa.ac.uk

Music

Elisabeth Wallace

Tel: +44 (0)1225 87 6535

e.wallace@bathspa.ac.uk

Photography

Helen Rayner

Tel: +44 (0)1225 875648

h.rayner@bathspa.ac.uk

Psychology

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Religion and Philosophy

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Sociology

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

Tourism Management

Mark De Fleury

Tel: +44 (0)1225 876578

m.defleury@bathspa.ac.uk

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