When researching or using any information you will need to know what to look for. See below for an introduction to the range of resources that you will encounter while looking for information to use in your assignment or research, how to find these resources, and how to use them effectively.
Here are some guides on tools to find academic resources:
ECU Library Search is the library catalogue at Edith Cowan University. Using ECU Library Search you can search ECU Library's entire collection. You can also search for holdings in libraries worldwide to see what other libraries have.
You can use ECU Library Search by searching for titles or authors that you want to find, or by applying keywords into the search box to look for items that contain those words.
You can also put in a search string or use search strategies to get results.
ECU Library Search is designed to search the worlds library catalogues. Connecting to WorldCat, a global database that connects with and searches through library content held at all connected libraries worldwide (WorldCat, n.d.), the results that you will see initially on the library are from all holdings on all connected catalogues.
Use the filters on the left side to narrow your results down.
For an introduction to using Worldsearch see Information Essentials Module 2: Finding Sources of Information - Basic search
If we hold an item electronically you will see an option to or .
Clicking on this will take you to the main database or journal that holds the item. Here you may have the option to download the article or a set of pages from the book, or read online.
See the eBooks guide for how to download and read chapters from a book that you have downloaded from our catalogue: eBooks: eReader Software/Downloading
If you see something that we have and it is not available you may have the option for Document Delivery. This is only available for Postgraduate and PhD students, Academic staff, and Researchers.
For more information on how to use Worldsearch see the ECU Library how to guide
Google Scholar is Googles search engine for scholarly published works. Common sources that you can find through Google Scholar are journal articles, conference papers, technical reports and more (Google Scholar, n.d.).
Google Scholar uses an automated system (search robots) to identify and index information that fulfils its criteria to be scholarly works. This means it can pick up information that is identifiable as a scholarly work on the internet. However, it may not pick up everything (or might lose things) in its results if they don’t fulfil the search robot’s criteria.
Google scholar works the same as a normal Google search.
When searching Google Scholar your results will appear based on relevance first. You can change this to be sorted by publication date using the filters.
Google Scholar doesn't come with a list of filters as you would find on a database or catalogue but rather relies on search filter commands that you can put into your search string. A list of search operators and filter commands can be found on their Refine Web Searches page.
Here are some useful filters that you can use:
|allintitle:||Only searches the title for keywords||
|site:||Searches for a particular website or type of URL.||
|author:||Searches for a particular author. You will need to add "author:" to every word. Or use the Advanced Search function.||
|filetype:||Searches for results of a certain filetype||
|Source:||Searches the source information. You can use this to search for results from certain Journals or Publishers||
source:"Taylor & Francis"
source:"Journal of Applied Ecology"
You can also apply all of these filters through Google Scholar Advanced Search. This is available through the menu on the left side.
As Google Scholar looks through the internet to find scholarly works it will bring up results that you won't necessarily have access to. Scholarly works are mostly produced through publications that require payment or subscriptions to access. As you do have some access through institution memberships such as ECU via the library you can add Library Links to show you what articles are found in our catalogue.
Set your Preferences in Google Scholar to set up the Findit@ECU link to full text available via ECU Library. This link will let you navigate to an accessible copy of articles found on Google Scholar.
You can do this by:
Scholarly Databases are a searchable collection of works and resources focused on a specific academic criteria.
Databases contain a range of resources such as:
These focus on a narrow range of subjects, usually closely related. These databases are useful to help focus your search as the resources there are focused on a specific subject and the related concepts. These databases will also allow you to use more subject specific keywords as subject terms.
Use Subject Databases to find articles that are focused on research or discussion around your subject of interest.
These databases focus on the relationships and links between journals, articles, and other indexed resources. Commonly known as abstract and citation databases, they provide the abstracts to all articles in a broad subject area. A lot of the texts that you can find on these will not provide full access to the article but show you the relationship between what an article has cited, and what it has been cited in.
Use Citation Indexes to find other related articles to what you are reading, follow the research around an article, or find all articles indexed by them on a particular search criteria.
Use the FindIt@ECU link to search ECU Library Search for access to these articles.
Journals are serial works that have a consistent cover title, and are published at regular intervals. Individual articles may be written by different authors, and are generally related to the topic of the journal. Journal articles generally contain specific and more up-to- date information than is found in books.
There are a range of journals available through different sources. The common one that you'll be encountering are the scholarly journals. These journals are written for an academic audience such as researchers, teachers, and students.
To find these you can:
Be aware that a lot of journals will require you to pay to access. Check if the article is available through ECU Library by searching the title using ECU Library Search.
Some journals may publish using an Open Access model. This means you can freely access these articles without a subscription or logging in.
You can find a list of the Journals available through ECU in our Journal Collection lists.
To find relevant journals for your subject look up your subject area in SCImago Journal & Country Rank.
There are a large range of journals and similar works out there and they may vary in terms of peer-review and quality.
To check whether a journal is peer reviewed you can choose one of the following options:
We have a video on how to use UlrichsWeb available here.
Grey literature includes:
There are also online search engines for Deep Web searching for science and technology literature that you can use such as:
However because of how diverse the information is there is very little control over what goes on the internet.
Here we'll look at:
If you need to look for anything online you can use your search engine of choice.
Most search engines will provide you with a basic search box for you to enter your keywords, search term, topic of choice or question.
Be aware when using search engines that they do tailor your search based around your history, user account, location, and preferences.
See our guide on Search Engines and Library Databases to find out more about how online search engines return results.
Wikipedia is a useful tool for surface level information. However when it comes to the search for reliable and credible information it falls short. Here are the key things that you need to know when considering Wikipedia and the information that is found on it.
Wikipedia is an online free encyclopedia. The key aim of Wikipedia is to create a collaborative collection of knowledge in which anyone in the world can contribute to and expand (Wikipedia, 2020d). The information presented in the articles of Wikipedia are recommended to be written from a neutral point-of-view with no original research (Wikipedia, 2020b). Edits in Wikipedia are generally requested to have a verifiable sources cited for each one of the points presented (Wikipedia, 2020b, 2020c).
A reliable source is one where you can verify where and who the information is coming from. We use the CRAAP test to test for reliable sources. Here is Wikipedia if we apply the CRAAP test:
The use of encyclopedias to provide context, definitions, and related topics is not one that is academically discouraged. The purpose of encyclopedias and other reference works such as dictionaries, handbooks, or manuals are useful tools to create understanding of a word, phrase, subject, or concept.
This is where Wikipedia comes in.
Use Wikipedia for:
Never use Wikipedia as a reference (unless you're talking about the website Wikipedia)!
Wikipedia. (2020a, July 29). Wikipedia:No original research. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:No_original_research&oldid=970207668
Wikipedia. (2020b, August 3). Help:Editing. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Help:Editing&oldid=971048657
Wikipedia. (2020c, September 20). Wikipedia:Core content policies. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Core_content_policies&oldid=979332916
Wikipedia. (2020d, September 21). Wikipedia:About. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:About&oldid=979580857
Wikipedia. (2020e, September 22). Wikipedia:Protection policy. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Protection_policy&oldid=979794234
Edith Cowan University acknowledges and respects the Noongar people, who are
the traditional custodians of the land upon which its campuses stand and its programs
In particular ECU pays its respects to the Elders, past and present, of the Noongar people, and embrace their culture, wisdom and knowledge.