• Chris Ireland

Study Hacks Part 2: Online Searching for Academic Sources

In the second half of the webinar that we delivered for IQ Student Accommodation as part of their Wellbeing Week, we looked at online searching for academic sources. The strategies discussed help reduce the amount of scrolling of webpages and, more often than not, ensure that the results of online searches are the most useful. The main focus was on the use of Google search operators in Google Scholar.

If you have Google Scholar linked to your University Library, it is probably the only place you need to search for online academic sources. Remember that your University Library will have purchased access to much more than just academic resources; I am not suggesting you stop searching in the library! However, while searching for academic sources Google Scholar finds academic resources that your Library has not purchased. Many of these resources will be freely available to download via Google Scholar. Where sources are not freely available but are not available in your University Library it may still be possible to access them via an ‘Inter-Library Loan’. This is a system where you can borrow from other University Libraries across the world. These loans are often free of charge or for a nominal fee. Over recent years I have used the system a few times. On one occasion I was able to borrow a book that was only available in the USA, while on another occasion I requested a journal article which was priced at £35. The ‘loan’ was free, arrived the next day and, since it was a photocopy, the Librarian said that I did not need to return it!

As I have already said, the main content of this section of the webinar concerned the use of Google search operators in Google Scholar. If you find you are overwhelmed by the quantity of reading you need to do, you read a great deal but don’t manage to gather much information, or when you search for sources you have too many pages of results then following the advice given in the webinar might help you find the information you need more quickly. You may also find it frees up time for you to take a more critical approach to you reading.

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