Strong research skills are an important skill that students of all levels need to develop. This is equally true for learners transitioning into third level from secondary education; those returning to education and for masters level students making the transition from undergraduate to post graduate programmes. Likewise, for staff looking to keep up to date with emerging best practice, confidence in undertaking research is also a critical, underlying skill.
By valuing and developing this foundational skill, other areas that many learners often find daunting will come much more easily, and develop naturally over the course of their studies.
By engaging in good research practice and taking the time to understand the referencing system your faculty expects you to use, you will avoid accidental plagiarism. You will also get into good habits that will allow you to engage with the subject and get a better understanding of both the topic and develop your own critical thinking.
Get into the habit of noting down where you have read something that interests you, where you found an article, a page number where you got a quote from. There are many approaches that you can take, finding the approach that works well for you is well worth some time and thought in the long run.
The library is here to support you in your studies and will assist you with understanding referencing styles and academic writing. We offer a range of workshops on how you can best use a range of academic databases and research software to assist you in your studies and assignments. If you wish to make an appointment for one to one guidance or to arrange a group workshop please contact us.
We also have a range of video tutorials and supports available on our Library YouTube Channel, with playlists including Research Skills and Study Tips and we are adding to these all the time.
1: Identify relevant keywords
2: Once you get the initial results, narrow these down:
There are so many different types of information available, it is sometimes difficult to identify which can be considered reliable and appropriate for your needs. Understanding how best to access and recognise relevant information is a vital skill.
Recognising and understanding the many different types of information that is available is a fundamental skill for academic work.
It is worth taking a little time to become familiar with the various types of sources that you will come across. This can help you to focus your time and attention in a more productive way.
This interactive lesson, developed by the University of Manchester explores how to evaluate and approach sources from the student perspective. It aims to develop the skills to necessary to source and critically judge quality information to support academic work.
Not all information that is published is credible and reliable. This can be particularly challenging to judge if you find that information online. You need to be able to judge the value and credibility of any source you find before you use it.
One way to evaluate an information source is to apply the CRAAP test.
What is the CRAAP TEST?
CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose
Currency: The timeliness of the information
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs
Authority: The source of the information
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
Purpose: The reason the information exists
Download the CRAAP Test Worksheet
View this video from McMaster University to get a quick overview of what the CRAAP test involves.