Key skills: making a difference
Key skills: making a difference

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6.3.3 Identify and research relevant sources of information

Spend some time finding out about what you will need to help you complete you IL work and who you will need to consult. You may need to arrange access to a library, the Internet, databases online, or specialist training or publications. If you need to learn about specific aspects of IL (for example how to reference correctly articles, papers and books, or how to put together a bibliography), then look first at your course material and then at study guides or notes aimed at your area of interest. Find out about relevant tutorials or training sessions you can attend.

You may find that material or resources associated with courses or projects other than your own may be helpful. Find out who might be able to help you track down information; you may need the support of a tutor or manager, specialists such as librarians, or other students or work colleagues. Think carefully about what you are looking for and how you are going to communicate your requirements to the person or system you intend to consult.

There are many different types of sources, for example books, academic journals (print and electronic), web pages, conference proceedings, magazines, newspapers, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, libraries and specialist databases. Where is your information coming from? Think about the implications of different sources for the quality, reliability and accuracy of the information you need. For example papers in academic journals are likely to be peer-reviewed by other subject experts; articles in reputable magazines may be by informed journalists; web pages could be written by anyone. Where is your information going? Who will be using it and what will they be using it for? The way you use and cite different information sources will affect the way others perceive the quality and reliability of your work.

Establishing where your information is coming from and where it is going should help you manage and organise your work. Keep a full and accurate record in your Skills File of the sources and references you have tracked down so that you can find them again and provide accurate references for others. If you are using a web browser, make sure you know how to bookmark relevant web pages so that you can easily access them again, download information and save text and images in appropriate formats.

Time out

Make a note of what information you will need to find, what you have found and where you have found it. Who might be able to help you track down the information you need?

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