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Transitioning from Year 13 to HE: Library

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg: https://libguides.swansea.ac.uk/flwyddyn13

Find information online

You can find lots of information on our Library webpage, including our libraries' locations and open times.  We also have subject specific library guides which you might wish to browse.  These Library Guides, created by our team of Subject Librarians, have a lot of helpful tips when searching for good information.

When you start with your studies, our friendly Customer Service Team can help you to find your way around the library and offer IT support. See their webpage for more details about the services they offer.

You can get in touch using the following contact details:  customerservice@swansea.ac.uk    +44(0)1792 295500

Here are some guides and tutorials to help you find materials to help with your assignments.  Academic assessments, such as writing papers, will require you to find and evaluate high quality sources.

Successful literature searching

Spending a small amount of time thinking about your search strategy will really help you when finding information for your assignments.  They key points to a good search strategy are:

  • Defining your Keywords
  • Setting limits (ie: date of publication, language)
  • Where are you going to search? (databases, websites etc.)
  • Recording your results

There is a wide range of information you may like to include in your assignments.  This includes:

  • Books - We recommend that you start with your module reading list in Canvas to find key texts on your topic.
  • Journal articles 
  • Grey Literature - This is basically anything not published in a journal, for example conference proceedings, Government documents, Reports from Organizations.

Getting your keywords right is a very important part of the search process, the more literature you read on your  topic the more keywords and key terms you will come across.  At the beginning of your search you may only have a few keywords, with these you can conduct a scoping search (a brief, broad search) to get an overview of how much literature there is on your topic.  Based on your results you can then refine your keywords and rerun your search.

Correct combination of your keywords using boolean operators (AND/OR/NOT) will be important.  We have created a research record form to help you to think about keywords for your search.  

NB: Some of our databases will also have Subject Headings/Thesaurus headings.  Using subject heading searches is an advanced way of searching for literature and can provide a useful, focused set of results.  Each database will have a help page with further details.

Critically appraising your sources is a crucial element of any literature search and a question we get asked a lot.  Check that your sources are:

  • reliable
  • academic enough
  • Free from bias

The CRAAP test may help. It is a checklist for evaluating web sources.

Effective Search with Google

Google can be a useful tool for finding information online. However, it can be difficult to find the most relevant and reliable sources of information from a list of thousands or millions of results. Don't assume the results at the top are the best ones! The following strategies will help you search Google more effectively.

Search a website or group of websites

Use your keywords and the command site:url to find results from one website or from a group of websites. For instance, a search for foundation phase site:gov.wales will find information about the Foundation Phase from the Welsh Government website.

You could use:

  • site:ac.uk to search academic websites.
  • site:gov.uk for UK government sites
  • site:nhs.uk or wales.nhs.uk for NHS official information

Find a particular type of document

Use the command filetype: to limit your search to a particular type of document. This can be useful if you are looking for a certain type of information. For example, if you government documents are likely to be published in PDF form, so you could use filetype:pdf to limit your results to PDFs and make it easier to find what you need. Numerical data is likely to appear in a spreadsheet, so you could use filetype:xls to look for Excel documents.

Referencing Your Work

One of the big difference from Year 13 - University is that your assignments will have to be heavier researched and referenced properly.  First year students will have a chosen referencing style to follow, based on which course you are on.  There are four common styles:

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How to use our Libraries

Our Libraries are open for you to come in to and use!  

Below you will see a video on how to search our online catalogue, called iFind.  iFind can help you find what items we have in the Library, such as books and journals (academic periodicals). 

You can borrow items from our Library, as long as you have a library card from the Public Library or your College Library.  Check with them first, and they can give you a form to bring to our Libraries which will allow you to borrow.  Take a look at our website for Library Visitor Information for more details.  You can borrow up to 5 normal loan items at a time for a 4 week period.

Keep up to date with our Library News!

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