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How to find relevant articles and books

There are many ways you can search and find relevant articles and books for your studies. You can use Library Search, A-Z databases, or a search engine like Google Scholar.

No matter where you search, using relevant keywords and search techniques will help you find the best information for your needs.

If you haven’t done so already, plan your search first.

TIP: Need help choosing where to start your search? Download our helpful handout.

Using Library Search

You can find a range of electronic and physical resources via Library Search, such as articles, books, newspapers, videos, reports and more.

To search for information on a topic follow these steps:

  1. Use keywords that describe your topic.  
    (Learn how to pick your keywords in the "Identifying your search terms" video)
  2. For more specific results use AND, OR, or NOT to separate your search terms.
    (Learn how to do this from the "What are Boolean operators?" video)
  3. Target your results by using the filter settings  
    (Learn how to refine your search in the "Finding information by keywords" video)

Search techniques

There are many techniques you can apply to your keywords to make your search more relevant.

Using library databases

You can also search for electronic resources such as articles and e-books through the A-Z Databases.

The most relevant databases to search will depend on your topic area. If you are unsure where to start, our Resource Guides suggest recommended databases for different subjects.

Each database may look different, but most have a common search functionality. You can follow steps 1-3 above to search for relevant information.

TIP: Many library databases can be searched via Library Search, but not all of them. If you are looking for more information on a topic, try searching a few databases to explore different results.

Using Google Scholar

If you decide to use Google Scholar to search for relevant articles and e-books, follow the same 3 steps listed above to search for relevant information.

Finding books on the shelf

Physical resources are arranged on the shelves by call numbers.

From your search results, select the ‘Locate it’ button under the call number to find a floor map highlighting where your item is shelved.

TIP: Drag the bar below to learn how to decipher a call number.

Before looking for the item on the shelf:

  • look at the status, is it available?
  • look at the location

You will need the complete call number, including letters and further numbers, to locate the exact item on the shelf. For help, visit library staff at the service desk.

If it's not on the shelf, you can still get the item by using 'Request it'.

Need help?

If you're having trouble finding what you're looking for, or using a database, we're here to help. Contact your librarian or library staff for support.

Contact us

Get quick answers and tips to get the most from your Library. Contact our library staff for help, support or to give feedback.