Page 1

DBS Library Getting Good Grades Series

Literature research

Step 1. Identify your topic One of the first steps in starting to search for information is to choose a good topic and examine your information needs. Discuss your topic with your lecturer.

Step 2. Find background information Identify the main concepts or keywords associated with the topic. Compile a list of keywords and synonyms to base your initial searches on. Example: Keyword = Advertising Synonyms = Promotion, Selling, Marketing If you are finding too much information and too many sources, narrow your topic by using the and operator in your searches. For example search for advertising and children.

Finding too little information may indicate that you need to broaden your topic. For example search for advertising or promotion.

Step 3. Finding books You can use the Library Catalogue to find books and journals in the Library. You can access this catalogue in the library from designated OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) stations or online at See the Library Catalogue Guide for information on searching the library catalogue in the library or online. Write down the citation (author, title, etc.) and the location information (class number). Note the circulation status (e.g. available, on loan).

Step 4. Finding articles Magazine and journal articles contain current research in any given field.

You can find a list of all the journals and magazines the library subscribes to by using the Electronic A to Z list available on the library website: You can find journal articles by searching the library databases such as Business Source Complete, Emerald, WARC or PsycInfo available on the library website at – ‘search all resources’ option. Alternatively you can use the library catalogue to source journals available in print in the library (only in Aungier Street and Portobello libraries)

Step 5. Using the web to find internet resources Use search engines such as Google and meta search engines such as Metacrawler to trace material on the internet. Books and journals go through an editorial or peer review process. Be aware that websites are not necessarily as authoritative. Be sure to evaluate your sources (see following section).

Dublin Business School Library 13/14 Aungier Street | Dublin 2 | Phone: 01-417 7572 19/22 Dame Street | Dublin 2 | Phone 01-417 8745 Email:

Step 6. Evaluating sources Firstly ask yourself questions like these about each article you include: 1. Is it an academic or popular publication? Academic journals generally have a serious look. They often contain many graphs and charts but few pictures. Academic journals always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. The language of academic journals is that of the discipline covered. The main purpose of an academic journal is to report on original research or experimentation in order to make such information available to the rest of the academic world. Examples of academic journals include: Journal of Applied Psychology; Media Culture and Society; Oxford Review of Economic Policy. Popular or General Interest periodicals come in many formats. These publications rarely cite sources. Information published in such journals is often second or third hand and the original source is sometimes obscure. Articles are usually very short and written in simple language. The main purpose of popular periodicals is to entertain the reader. Examples of such periodicals include: Time; Village; Newsweek. 2. Is the information accurate and reliable? An article from an academic journal must first go through the peer review process in which a group of widely acknowledged experts in a field reviews it for content, scholarly soundness and academic value. While most magazines adhere to editorial standards, articles do not go through a peer review process and rarely contain bibliographic citations. 3. Is the information in the publication current? When was the source published? If it is a website, when was it last updated? Avoid using undated websites. Library catalogues and periodical indexes always indicate the publication date in the bibliographic information. In evaluating a website, these are some questions that you can ask yourself:

1. Is there an author of the document? Can you determine the producer's credentials? If you cannot determine the author of the site, then think twice about using it as a resource. 2. Is the site sponsored by a group or organization? If it is sponsored by a group or company, does the group advocate a certain philosophy? Try to find and read "About Us" or similar information. 3. Is there any bias evident in the site? Is the site trying to sell you a product? Ask why the page was put on the web? 4. Is there a date on the website? Is it sufficiently up-to-date? If there is no date, again, think twice about using it. Undated factual or statistical information should not be used; question where it came from. 5. How credible and authentic are the links to other resources? Are the links evaluated or annotated in any way?

Step 7. Citing sources Give credit where credit is due; cite your sources. For referencing use the Harvard Referencing style or the APA Referencing style (see the library’s Referencing Guides) Note that knowingly representing the work of others as your own is plagiarism (see the Plagiarism Guide on how to avoid this)

Dublin Business School Library 13/14 Aungier Street | Dublin 2 | Phone: 01-417 7572 19/22 Dame Street | Dublin 2 | Phone 01-417 8745 Email:

Literature research  
Literature research  

Step 1. Identify your topic Step 4. Finding articles Dublin Business School Library DBS Library Getting Good Grades Series Use search engine...