Books are good for exploring new subject areas. They help define a topic and provide an in-depth account of a subject.
Scholarly books contain authoritative information including comprehensive accounts of research or scholarship and experts' views on themes and topics. their bibliographies can lead readers to related books, articles and other sources.
Journals are quicker to publish than books and are often a good source of current information. They are useful when you require original research on a topic written by subject experts and factual documented information to support an argument. The bibliographies at the end of journal articles should point you to other relevant research.
Academic journals go through a "peer-review" process. A peer-reviewed journal is one whose articles are checked by experts, so you can be more confident that the information they contain is reliable.
Newspapers enable you to follow current and historical events from multiple perspectives. They are an excellent record of political, social, cultural, and economic events and history.
Newspapers are popular rather than scholarly publications and their content needs to be treated with caution. For example, an account of a particular topic can be biased in favour of that newspaper’s political affiliation or point of view. It’s therefore recommended that you always double-check the data/statistics or any other piece of information that a newspaper has used to support an argument before you quote it in your own work.
The library subscribes to various resources which provide full-text access to both current and historical newspapers. Find out more about these on the Library's Newspaper Resources page.
Websites provide information about every topic imaginable, and many will be relevant to your studies.
Use websites with caution as anyone can publish on the Internet and therefore the quality of the information provided is variable. When you’re researching and come across a website you think might be useful, consider whether or not it provides information that is reliable and authoritative enough to use in your work. The Library’s presentation on Evaluating Web Resources will provide you with a few tips on how to identify good quality websites.
Patents are a way of protecting inventions - the owner can stop other people making, using or selling the item without their permission. This applies for a limited period and a separate application is needed for each country.
Patents can be useful since they contain full technical details on how an invention works. If you use an active patent outside of research - permission or a license is probably needed.
Proceedings are collections of papers presented by researchers at academic conferences or symposia. They may be printed volumes or in electronic format.
You can use the information in conference proceedings with a high degree of confidence as the quality is ensured by having external experts read & review the papers before they are accepted in the proceedings.
Find the data and statistics you need, from economics to health, environment to oceanography - and everywhere between - http://library.soton.ac.uk/data.
Most aspects of life are touched by national governments, or by inter-governmental bodies such as the European Union or the United Nations. Official publications are the documentary evidence of that interest.
Our main printed collections and online services are for British and EU official publications, but we can give advice on accessing official publications from other places and organisations. Find out more from our web pages http://library.soton.ac.uk/officialpublications.
Grey literature is the term given to non-traditional publications (material not published by mainstream publishers). For example - leaflets, reports, conference proceedings, government documents, preprints, theses, clinical trials, blogs, tweets, etc..
The majority of Grey literature is generally not peer-reviewed so it is very important to critically appraise any grey literature before using it.
Throughout the year we will be offering a number of 'training sessions' on many of our key resources!
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Here are some tutorials which we've created to help you use the Library's online resources.
Finding information for your course / assignment / research
Need help finding resources specifically for your subject? Try the Subject Guides....
Some subjects also rely on other key or special resources such as archives, artists collections, newspapers and many more ... Detailed information can be found here or from your Subject Guide.
Avoid plagiarism and acknowledge material written by others that you have used in your work? Look here for general guidance, examples and information on the different referencing styles and reference management software available. Or go to your Subject Guide for specific help on the key style/s used by your academic unit!
See also the official UofS Academic Integrity Statement.
Academic Writing .. lots of helpful links, tips and resources on notetaking; essay, report and reflective writing; using good English and grammar plus much more.
What kind of learner are you? Use the relevant revision techniques, reading strategies, exam skills and other techniques as outlined for your learning style.