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Identifying your information need (Generic)

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(1) Identifying your information need (Self-reflection) (No audio)

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Identifying your information need (Generic)

  1. 1. Identifying your information need
  2. 2. Knowing what you want to find will help you decide the best place to look for it. Durham University Library & Collections provides access to a huge range of resources, but having a clear idea of what you are looking for can make sure you use your time efficiently to look in the right places! Briefly considering your topic, question, research brief or assignment can help you reflect on what you want to achieve (and what is manageable). This (very) brief guide is aimed to help direct your self- reflection, to ask yourself what information you really need to achieve your aims. Introduction
  3. 3. An overview of a new topic you are unfamiliar with?
  4. 4. An overview of a new topic you are unfamiliar with? Encyclopaedias or review articles in journals may offer some of the following; • An introductory overview to key themes, • A summary of key terminology • A more detailed review of a topic area highlighting the key published research in a field • Suggested areas requiring further research.
  5. 5. The latest academic research?
  6. 6. The latest academic research? Recent journal articles will usually be more up-to-date than books. Academic blogs may not have gone through a rigorous peer-review process, but may provide information about very recent research activity.
  7. 7. A broader or historiographical perspective or narrative?
  8. 8. Books can set out the development of a subject area in broader terms than a journal article, and in more detail than an encyclopaedia entry. A broader or historiographical perspective or narrative?
  9. 9. In depth, detailed research into a specific topic?
  10. 10. In depth, detailed research into a specific topic? Journal articles will normally give a detailed look at a specific topic, research question or experiment.
  11. 11. In depth, detailed research into a specific topic? Journal articles will normally give a detailed look at a specific topic, research question or experiment. If a journal article offers too focussed or narrow perspective, a long-form publication such as a research monograph or thesis might be more appropriate.
  12. 12. Media reports and/or contemporary perspectives on events?
  13. 13. Media reports and/or contemporary perspectives on events? There is a wealth of material available in our physical and digital archives, and elsewhere online; • Newspaper articles, popular magazines and pamphlet collections; • Blogs and Social Media; • Newsreels, documentaries and other audio-visual materials.
  14. 14. An official or institutional point of view?
  15. 15. An official or institutional point of view? Government reports or statistical publications, Supra-national or non-governmental organisations such as the United Nations, Amnesty International or the National Health Service. Remember, some will represent a very narrow political perspective.
  16. 16. Other primary source material
  17. 17. Other primary source material Archives, both physical and online, will provide access to often hidden primary materials not published or easily accessible elsewhere; • diaries, • log-books, • letters, • official records and personal materials They may be hidden away in public or private collections, and may or may not be catalogued in a way that enables ease of discovery.
  18. 18. You will need to use different tools and approaches to locate different materials: • Many academic databases will locate journal articles, but not books. • Databases and search engines may search the full text of a publication… or just the title or abstract (if there is one). • A Library catalogue may know the titles of books… but not the chapters within them. • An archive may index materials by author, collection or format… but not what individual items they contain.
  19. 19. Having considered what information you hope to find, you are better placed to identify where to start your search, and how you might approach the task ahead of you.
  20. 20. Identifying your information need https://dulib.libanswers.com/index.php

Editor's Notes

  • Senior Manager: Library Research Services james.bisset@durham.ac.uk
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