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Finding and managing information

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Develop your search strategy

Developing a good search strategy will ensure you find quality material and will save you time. 
•    Make sure you break down your topic or question into key terms or concepts and think of synonyms or variants of these that you may need to search for. 
•    Think about how you can combine terms to narrow your search if you get too many results. Things like phrase searching or proximity operators can help with this. 
•    If you need to broaden your search you can use tools like truncation and wildcards. 
•    For more tips and information on search tools see our Finding Sources page.

 

Databases and eresources

Next you need to apply your search strategy. You will need to try a range of different resources to get the best results.
•    Start by entering your search terms in 
Library Search
•    Then use them in more targeted databases and websites. See our 
Subject guides for specific resources in your field or browse through the A-Z list.
•  
  You might also want to try them in freely available resources such as Government and news websites, public archives and tools such as Google Scholar. Searching Google Scholar from the Library Search ‘database’ tab will automatically show any links to full text of OA publications found. You can link your University account to Google Scholar easily for access to material through our subscriptions. Please note that if you do not link your account, you will need to follow up any references individually.
•    Evaluate your results and modify searches accordingly.
•    Make sure you keep good records of your results. There is a suggested search record template on the 
Finding Sources page.

 

Citation searching

Citation searching or cited reference searching can be another very effective way of identifying useful material. If you have identified a key book or article in your field, citation searching will allow you to identify other articles or books that have cited that work. This allows you to find more recent works on the same subject and to build up a connected trail of research in your area. 
Many databases are now starting to include citation information in their records – look for links that say Cited By or Times Cited.

There are severa useful tools for citation searching.  Staff Development Workshops are offered regularly on the use of Scopus and Web of Science, including how to track your own profile, find research collaborators and identify the best journals to publish in:

  • Scopus claims to be the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. It holds over 64m records with 21,548 titles from over 5,000 publishers. It also includes over 130,000 books, millions of conference papers and over 320 trade publications. Scopus provides a range of online tutorials as well as help through their Support Centre.
  • Web of Science contains over 65 million unique records. The Core Collection (to which we subscribe) features: 19,300 peer reviewed journals, 1m books and book chapters and 2.6m chemical compounds. Contrary to the name, this is a multidisciplinary database, covering over 250 subjects, not just the sciences. A quick reference guide is available, along with a series of training videos.
  • Google Scholar references are likely to have a cited by link to other articles.  Details of the calculating algorithms are not public knowledge, so it is difficult to compare this with commercial products. The advice would be to use with caution, and in collaboration with other sources. 
  • Publish or Perish is a free piece of software which can be used with Google Scholar to track and analyse citations.  

 

Keeping up-to-date

There are several key ways of keeping yourself up-to-date with the latest research in your area:
•    In many databases you are able to set up alerts for the searches you have run. This means the same search will be run at designated intervals and any new results emailed to you. 
•    Journal alerting services such as Zetoc and JournalTOCs enable you to have details of newly-published journal articles in your area of research emailed to you. Individual publishers and journals also allow you to set up alerts for their content. 
•    You can set up RSS feeds from many news and current affairs sites of interest.
•    Social media tools such as blogs, 
Twitter and networking sites like Academia.edu can also be useful ways of keeping-up-to-date.

 

Managing your references

Reference management tools allow you to manage and organise all the references you find during your research. Most will also allow you to create bibliographies of your references and insert citations into your work. Some have additional useful features such as sharing references, managing pdfs and social networking. 

We recommend Mendeley to researchers and staff.  Below is an overview of the features, alongside three popular tools. Other tools e.g. Citavi are also available?  Please contact askalibrarian if you'd like further referencing support, or see our guide to referencing at the University of Worcester.

 

Mendeley

EndNote

EndNote Basic

Zotero

Cost

Free

Individual subscription

Free

Free

Desktop or online application

Desktop and online

Desktop and online

Online

Desktop and online

Operating systems

Windows

Mac

Linux

Windows

Mac

 

Windows

Mac

Linux

Word processor compatibility

MS Word

LibreOffice

BibTex

MS Word

Apache Open Office

 

MS Word

MS Word

Apache Open Office

LibreOffice

University of Worcester Harvard referencing style

 

 

Other referencing styles

8,000+

6,000+

7

8,000+

Captures references from webpages

 

 

Captures references from barcodes

 

 

 

 

Captures references from PDFs

Mobile app

 

 

Automatic syncing across devices

 

 

Free PDF storage

2GB

Unlimited

2GB

300MB

Free reference storage

2GB

Unlimited

50,000

300MB

PDF annotation

 

 

Sharing

 

Extra features

Article recommender