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Research Skills

Searching for Resources

The basics of searching

Search by topic/keywords 

e.g. implementing marketing

Search by subjects

e.g. customer service

Search by key concepts

e.g. PESTEL analysis

Image: Use Library Search and databases, use keywords and omit any unnecessary words

Library resources

Search the catalogue to discover
resources available through the library.

Tick box icon Do a broad search of your topic.

Tick box icon Use refiners to narrow your results
by resource type, date range and more.


Red play button icon Library Search video


Search the Library databases to gain
full-text access to scholarly journal articles.

Tick box icon Always limit results to full-text only.

Tick box icon Use database refiners to narrow your   

See database help guides for more information
and user tips for each specific database.


Red play button icon Databases video
 An introduction, learn the basics.


Red play button icon 5 tips for database searching video

Web sources

Search the internet to find general
background information.

Tick box icon Always evaluate websites carefully.

Tick box icon Algorithms put the most clicked on pages
at the top of the results, not the most relevant.

 ?   Need help choosing and evaluating resources? See Selecting your resources page for more information.

Advanced searching

Boolean operators and search techniques


Search for resources with both terms in them.

Search: cats AND dogs

Retrieves resources about cats and dogs



Search for resources with either term in them.

Search: cats OR dogs

Retrieves resources about either cats or dogs



Search for resources with only one of the terms in them.

Search: cats NOT dogs

Retrieves resources about cats excluding dogs

Exact phrase

"Social media"


(Group together)

chocolate AND (cake OR tart)



lion* = lion, lioness, lionfish 



wom?n = woman, women

Refining and broadening your search

Too many results?

 + Use more search terms

 + Add a location or date range

“” Put quotation marks around phrases

Too few results?

 Broaden your search terms

+ Add synonyms to your search terms

Use a wider date range