research skills for your epq
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Research skills for your EPQ. Where to begin. Choosing a subject. Choose a broad subject area and carry out some basic research to find out how much material is available. Refine your research to develop a research question. If you really haven’t a clue what to do:

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choosing a subject
Choosing a subject
  • Choose a broad subject area and carry out some basic research to find out how much material is available.
  • Refine your research to develop a research question.
  • If you really haven’t a clue what to do:

ask your supervisor for advice and read all the academic journals for inspiration.

starting the search task for real
Starting the search task for real
  • Finding and selecting the best resources are the key to any project
  • Use a variety of different resources
  • This will show the reader that you have researched fully and increase the chances of using credible resources
where do you look first
Where do you look first?
  • Google
  • NO
  • Wikipedia
  • NO
  • Ask your mate
  • NO
  • The Library
why the library
Why the Library
  • It’s the gateway to all knowledge
  • Books
  • Academic journals
  • Electronic resources
  • ….and more
print resources
Print Resources
  • Books
  • Generally reliable
  • Authors credentials can be checked
  • Bibliography provides list of other useful resources
  • Currency, check the publication date. Remember that the publication process can take a long time
book resources
Book Resources
  • Reviews and Abstracts
  • Both can be used to decide whether an item is likely to be of use.
  • A review is another’s opinion of the text
  • An abstract is a summary of the contents.
search tip
Search Tip
  • Often an abstract will provide all the information you need about the contents of a book, and provide another item for your bibliography
search tip1
Search tip
  • Use the bibliography to find the titles of other resources that might be of use
accessing print resources
Accessing Print Resources
  • You can borrow books from the following
  • School library
  • British library – via school library
  • Public libraries
  • The Leeds Library – via school library
  • Use as reference only
  • University Libraries
  • Magazines written for an academic audience
  • Up to date
  • Peer reviewed
world wide web
World Wide Web
  • There are billons of pages of information on the Internet
  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Audio video
  • Websites
search tip2
Search Tip
  • To find the right resources you need to select the right tools. Using the best search tool can save a lot of time and retrieve higher quality more relevant resources
search tools
Search Tools
  • Search engines
  • Meta search engines
  • Subject portals
  • Subject directories
free internet
Free Internet
  • Most of us use search engines and meta search engines to access the free internet
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Search engines
  • Meta search engines
deep internet
Deep Internet
  • Invisible web
  • Largest and most important part of the web
  • Not accessible using the usual search tools
  • Online books, subject directories and portals and databases requiring a log-on.
search process
Search Process
  • Focus
  • Strategise
  • Refine
  • Evaluate
search tip3
Search tip
  • A good online search starts off-line. Read about your subject. Think about what you already know and what you need to know
  • Think about keywords and phrases and where best to search
  • Adjust your search by widening or narrowing the range. Improve it by adding new words that you come across
  • Decide how credible the document is
search and meta search engines
Search and Meta Search Engines
  • How they work and why is it important
  • Search engines are best when you want to carry out a comprehensive search.
  • Meta search engines are less precise and are good if you want something less specific or obscure
  • Meta search engines return results in varying ways which make searching easier
search strategy
Search Strategy
  • Dream senario: Getting the best results and in the first few pages
  • Beware of sponsored links
search tip4
Search tip
  • There is always more than one way to describe what you’re looking for
  • Brainstorm synonyms
  • Nouns are better than verbs as verbs tend to be vague
  • Put the most important words first
  • Incorrect spellings can be a problem – use the spelling help if there is one
  • Each search tool uses a different syntax or specific language. Need to know this to use the tool properly.
search tips
Search Tips
  • Boolean operators: AND OR and NOT
  • Use “to treat words as a phrase”
  • ~ Use a tilde to search for synonyms
  • Search in lower case unless you are searching for names
advance search
Advance Search
  • Most search engines have an advance search screen. This allows for a more precise search by using parameters to limit the results.
  • Restrict by date
  • Specify which field keywords are to be found
mine your results
Mine your Results
  • Use new words or phrases that occur to make your search more specific
  • Use more than one keyword or phrase
search tips1
Search Tips
  • Use the end of the web address to assess what type of site the info comes from
  • .com or
  • .edu or .ac or .sch
  • .gov or
  • .org
  • %~
subject directories and portals
Subject Directories and Portals
  • Contents arranged in subject areas, subject catalogues
  • Selected, annotated and maintained by specialists
  • Use directories and portals if you are searching a general topic or have a broad keyword or phrase, good initial search tool
  • Quick access to best sites but fewer results and issues with age of info
  • Organised, searchable collection of materials
  • Filtered and evaluated by publishers, authors, editors
  • Invisible to robots, spiders and crawlers
search tip5
Search tip
  • Look at librarians Internet index
  • Invisible web directory
  • Search for subject portals or gateways in your subject area
  • Use “databases” in your search query
  • An OPAC is an Online Public Access Catalogue
  • Access from home
  • School, British Library, University libraries and local library catalogues
  • Search by Author, title, keyword or subject
search tip6
Search tip
  • Use the subject headings on a catalogue entry to find more resources
subscription databases
Subscription Databases
  • Access to full text scholarly journals, reference and non-fiction books
  • School subscribes to Issues Online
  • Username HGS Password 52574
  • Mrs Whitelaw has access to many others, see her for details
ask an expert
Ask an Expert
  • Use an “ask the expert site”
  • Contact the author or editor via the website link
  • Credible : check credentials of site and authors, print vs online, web addresses
  • Accurate : compare sources
  • Reliable : what is the aim of the site, does it have bias, check web addresses
  • Relevant : Quality not quantity. Does it answer the question. Check the date of publication. Does it match the above criteria?
academic fraud
Academic Fraud
  • What is it?
  • Stealing others work or ideas
  • Copying from a friend
  • Buying from the Internet
  • Help from others
  • Cut and paste without attribution
i didn t mean to do it
I didn’t mean to do it
  • The information came from a book but I can’t remember which one.
  • Can’t express it any better than the website has but I changed a few words.
  • My Mum wrote the summary because I was running short of time.
  • I reused an essay from last year – well it was my own work.
how to avoid it
How to avoid it
  • Credit facts and ideas
  • Be organised by keeping a record of all the resources you use.
  • Ensure all citations are in “quotation marks”
  • Paraphrase
  • Summerise
  • Clearly identify source - make a bibliography