I remember having lectures on academic research and accessing resources in the first year, but I also remember I wasn’t paying much attention during those lectures as I didn’t find them directly relevant. As soon as I was faced with an actual assignment I realised just how much time those lectures have saved me.
We were shown how to use multiple websites for resources, such as Web of Knowledge, Library Search, Google Scholar etc., but I have always started with Library Search and used Google Scholar and Web of Knowledge if there was something I couldn’t find on Library Search. One huge benefit of our Library Search is also the live chat our library offers, where you can ask questions you might have about the library, accessing resources, books and similar. I have used that many times when I had problems accessing certain articles. I honestly don’t imagine doing that on Web of Knowledge or Google Scholar.
Different assessment types require different resources. As I have written in one of the previous posts, I have used non-peer-reviewed sources in my first essay of my first year. I have since learned my lesson and if it’s not a published book or a peer-reviewed article, I probably shouldn’t reference it.
I have also reduced the number of books I use for my assignments, simply because I can find articles published more recently. I still use books and what I’ve been using more and more lately is, when I find a book that might be relevant to my assignment, I find it on Google Books and use the ‘Look inside’ option. This way I have access to some pages/chapters and I can see if it would make sense for me to find the book in the library (especially if I’m not on campus).
All in all, it’s much easier and faster for me to find relevant resources compared to my first and second year, mainly because I got used to it, I know what I’m doing and I know what’s relevant to me.