After analysing the task, you should have a clear idea of concepts and limits of your topic. These will be your keywords for searching. Try to generate some alternative terms for these keywords top broaden your results. You may also want to note down things you want to exclude.
If you're new to a topic, starting with an encyclopedia or overview guide (sometimes called 'reference material') will help you develop a general understanding before you deep dive into niche aspects of the topic. They are written to give a concise introduction using scholarly references, so will lead you straight to the most important or informative publications in the field. They are usually updated regularly.
Library databases are a little different to general search engines. They give you very precise results based on exactly what you asked for.
This video shows you how to combine terms in databases.
This video will give you some tips on the best general search options when you're getting started at the University of Melbourne
Too many results?
Can't find anything?
Results aren't relevant?
If you know exactly what you need, but don't know where to find it, try:
Contact us if you can't find what you're looking for or can't connect to a source. We can help you troubleshoot problems, find alternative ways to access materials, or source the work from another collection.
We love a challenge and we're happy to help.
Our general search tools will uncover a lot, but did you know we also have hundreds of specialist resources for your specific area of study?
Library Guides are written and maintained by specialist librarians who are knowledgeable about your subjects, and will give you specific recommendations about where to search. Choose 'Guides by Subject Area' to find a guide for your area of study.
The guides focus on different types of information sources.
The Library has some tools that will provide direct access to online resources, whether you're on or off campus, and speed up your research by making resources easier to access.
Find out more about each tool in the gallery below. You don't need to limit yourself to one, you can use them all in conjunction with each other.
Lean Library is a browser extension that identify sites, articles, journals and books we have University access to, so you can get seamless access to paid resources when you're browsing.
The Lean Library browser extension works with your UniMelb authentication, no separate user account is needed.
LibKey Nomad is a browser extension the puts direct PDF download links into research platforms and other sites, for example, in Wikipedia reference lists.
The LibKey Nomad browser extension works with your UniMelb authentication, no separate user account is needed
BrowZine is an app to follow your favorite journals and get notifications on new issues and published articles. BrowZine can be installed from the Apple, Google Play and Amazon App Stores.
It allows you to browse titles by subject to easily find journals of interest and create a personal bookshelf of your favourite journals.
EndNote Click, formally known as Kopernio, saves you time by putting PDF Download links onto many search result pages and publisher websites. It helps you save papers to your reference management software or to Dropbox.
You can set your Google Scholar preferences so that links to any Library subscription material shows a 'Find It @ Unimelb' link next to search results, taking you through to a full text version via the Library. This can be a convenient alternative if you don't want install browser add ons like Lean Library or LibKey Nomad.
It's essential to keep track of what you have found when you are searching so that you:
There are lots of ways to keep records of your searches. Most databases allow you to save searches, and to email or print search results. See the referencing section of this guide for more resources.