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Library Teaching: PGT

PG Tips for PGTs

 

From Monday 6th - Friday 10th July, we'll be adding a new training video to this page daily (along with quizzes, activities and further resources) to help you develop essential skills for your Masters.

Essential search skills for Chemistry

This seminar is going to focus on improving your search skills.  

What this session will cover

  • The search strategy cycle
  • Advance searching with connectors  and commands
  • Where to search
  • Database filters
  • When to stop searching

The search strategy cycle

  1. Identify your topic’s key words/terms

The first thing we need to do is to identify keywords or terms, you'll be able to identify your keyword and terms from your research question. If you have a clear question to start with, then task of searching will be much easier.

  1. Make a list of alternative terms

We need to make a list of alternative keywords to search for. Remember that the databases will not look for alternative keywords or spellings.

  1. Combine keywords using connectors and wildcards

We need to think about how we want the search engine to look for our keywords. You can combine your search terms together using search connectors to produce much more relevant results.

  1. Search appropriate catalogues and databases

In order to find relevant materials, you'll need to look in the right place. Think about what you need to find before you start your search.

  1. Refine search results using database search filters

You can limit your results by item type. This would include articles or books or limit by a specific date range. This is something that will help to make your results much more relevant.

  1. Save your search and material found

It’s important to save your search results so that you can easily find them again.

Advance searching with connectors and commands

  • Alternative Keywords

Let’s say for example you need to answer the question:

Does the use of interactive media in the classroom result in higher levels of engagement from students?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to identify what the keywords are. For example, we’ve got interactive media, classroom, levels of engagement and students. What we’ll need to do now is look for those words and think about alternative keyword. For example, with interactive media we might also look for multimedia, media in education and digital media. A good tip is to check the abstract and keywords of a relevant article. This is a good way to get a sense of how other authors are talking about your subject.

The next stage to think about is how to combine your keywords.

You can combine your searches terms using search connectors, which will allow you to broaden or narrow your search results.

  • Search connectors

First, we are going to discuss the search connector AND; search commands will need to be in capital letters to work on most databases. If you search for cats AND dogs, you’ll find articles or books that contain both keywords. This can be a good way to reduce the amount of results, but can also miss relevant research or find zero results if you’re too specific. N.b. If you leave a space between two words, the search engine will assume that you mean AND.

The next search command is OR. If you search for cats OR dogs, you'll find articles that contain either one of those keywords; it will also find them together as well. Or will help you to broaden out your search and ensure you’re not missing research.

You can use NOT to exclude words. For example, if you are researching the speed of Jaguars, you would potentially find results on the animal and the vehicle. You could use NOT to exclude the word vehicle if you just wanted to find results on the animal. Also, searching  in subject specific databases will only find results for a specific subject area. 

  • Phrase searching

Next we want to search for groups of words. For example, if we're searching for the phrase interactive media and we put it in double quotation marks, you will find the word interactive and media next to each other in that exact order. This is a good way to make your search results more relevant. If I search for interactive media without putting it in double quotation marks, the database won't necessarily find them together.

  • Truncation

The last search command we're going to look at is a way to search for variations. For example, if we want to find variations on the word child. All we need to do is put an asterisk (*) after the d. That would find children, childhood, etc,.​

  • In practice

Let's have a look at what the search might look like when we bring it all together. Go to the library homepage and we’re going to use advanced search. First, you’ll need to sign in to library search, this will mean you have full access to our online resources and will also allow you to save your searches and results.

We recommend using advanced search to create your search. We want to break our search into its different concepts. For example, we've got interactive media and all related terms on one line and you'll notice that those are joined together by OR. You'll also notice that the phrases "interactive media", “Media in education” and "digital media" are in double quotation marks. To join together the overall concepts, we want to use the AND.

Example:

 

Search strategy

Concept 1

"interactive media" OR ebooks OR multimedia OR “Media in education” OR "digital media"

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 2

engagement OR involvement OR participation OR learning

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 3

student* OR pupil* OR child*

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 4

classroom

You can use this general approach with all databases. If you try the above search, you’ll get over a hundred thousand results. There are a number of ways we can limit our search results. The default is to search for those keywords in any field that is the title, the abstract, the body, the keywords. One way to focus the search results is to search just in the title. For example, we could look for the key words about engagement in the title only. Which will reduce our results down to tens of thousands (you’ll need to use advanced search for this to work). We'll look at the other filters in a minute.

Where to search

Library search is a great discovery tool, but it's not a robust search tool. What we mean by this is it doesn't give you a true sense of what been published on a subject area. It's a great resource, but you're going to need to use other databases. If you go to the A to Z of online resources, you'll find a list of specialist databases and other online resources. These resources will enable you to conduct a thorough search.

This is where you'll also be able to access newspaper archives, primary source databases, statistics, etc. The A to Z is broken down into two parts, the first part along the top is just an A to Z. For example, if you were looking for JSTOR you would go to J and you can access it there. We've also grouped relevant databases by subject and you'll be able to find relevant databases in your subject guide.

If the library doesn't have access to something, we offer a free service to allow students to request copies of items that are not available at Sussex Library. If you click on find and request a book and then you’ll get the option to request that book from another library.

Search filters

Next, we'll look at database search filters. We’re using Scopus in this example. The first you need to check on all databases is how your search results have been organized. Some databases will automatically organize results by relevance, prioritizing keywords. Some databases will automatically sort your results by date or citation. In this example we've not got the most relevant results at the top, so we need to reorganize our results by relevance. To further limit your search, you'll need to use the filters. For example, you can use subject area to focus in on education. You can see in Web of Science that you've got a very similar set of filters so we can see we can organize by date. And you can also reorganize by highly cited, hot papers as well.

I'll now demo the filters on library search. First of all, you can see that our search is organized by relevance; prioritising our keywords. You'll find these filters on other databases like Scopus and Web of Science; they have a very similar layout. The first thing we think about doing is limiting our results by date. Next, we could focus in on peer reviewed journals only and maybe we just want to look at articles. If you're still finding, you're getting too many results, then you'll need to go back to your keywords.

Saving results

You can save your search results using the pin and organise them into folders. For example, essay 1. You can also save your search; we recommend saving the search before applying filters. This will help you to keep track of your results, so you can find them again easily for your work and also referencing. We recommend saving your search before applying the filters. If I click on the pin at the top, it will take me through to the items that I’ve saved and I can also access my saved searches. You can also organise your search results into folders. If I add a label and I can reuse an existing label or create a new one. It makes it easier to come back and find those results later.

When to stop searching

A good way to get a sense of when you've done enough is asking:

  • Have you identified key papers in a field?
  • Has your tutor given you an idea of what to expect to find? For example, on climate change, you're going to find a lot of materials.
  • Has there been repetition in the results across different databases? If you're finding the same items, then you can get a sense of whether or not you're finding all of the research.
  • Have you exhausted all reasonable channels of discovery? Have you been through the A to Z, your subject guide looked on different databases for resources?

Skills Hub

On the library home page, there's a link to Skills Hub, and this is where you'll find support on areas such as writing, researching, referencing, and you can also book a one to one with the library on the workshops and tutorials page.

Library contact details

If you have any questions, then you can get in touch this via email phone or the library chat service which will be available on the homepage.

Creating a search

  1. Using your research question identify the keywords required for your search. You are going to use each keyword as a concept.
  1. For each concept identify alternative keywords and group together related terms and synonyms. Tip: use any articles or book chapters relevant to your research to identify alternative keywords required for your search.

Search Strategy example:

 

Search strategy

Concept 1

Diazirines OR “reactive carbine” OR “Diazirine-based”

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 2

photoreactive OR photoaffinity

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 3

labeling

  1. Combine your keywords together using search connectors and commands. Use library advanced search.

You can also review search connectors on Skills Hub: Boolean Connectors and on Video guides: Boolean searching

  1. Refine your search results by using the filter options available on the left hand side of the page or searching within a specific field. For example, the title.

Remember to Sign-in to Library Search to ‘Save search’ (a good way to keep track of evolving search terms), and save items that look relevant for future use.

Going beyond Library search

Go to the Chemistry and Biochemistry

  1. Watch the quick tutorial on Web of Science and try out your search, or the example above, on Web of Science and limit the date between 2010-2020 and to articles only.

  1. What the quick tutorial on using Royal Society of Chemistry Journals collection. Go to the Royal Society of Chemistry Journals and find a paper on the subject photoreactive AND "metal complexes".

  1. Try the same search on ACS Journals Search, but search only in the title. Download an article.

  1. Watch the Overview and Methods Map video on Sage Research Methods Online
  1. Using Law, J. (2020). Dictionary of chemistry (Eight edition). Oxford University Press.find the entry on ethylamine.

  1. Go to Reaxys, what the video on Using Quick search in Reaxys literature searching. Using the keyword diazirine find the article by Chen, Yuan; Topp, Elizabeth M.from 2020 and download the article. Answer here. For more training materials see the Reaxys Support Center.

Essential search skills for Education

This seminar is going to focus on improving your search skills.  

What this session will cover

  • The search strategy cycle
  • Advance searching with connectors  and commands
  • Where to search
  • Database filters
  • When to stop searching

The search strategy cycle

  1. Identify your topic’s key words/terms

The first thing we need to do is to identify keywords or terms, you'll be able to identify your keyword and terms from your research question. If you have a clear question to start with, then task of searching will be much easier.

  1. Make a list of alternative terms

We need to make a list of alternative keywords to search for. Remember that the databases will not look for alternative keywords or spellings.

  1. Combine keywords using connectors and wildcards

We need to think about how we want the search engine to look for our keywords. You can combine your search terms together using search connectors to produce much more relevant results.

  1. Search appropriate catalogues and databases

In order to find relevant materials, you'll need to look in the right place. Think about what you need to find before you start your search.

  1. Refine search results using database search filters

You can limit your results by item type. This would include articles or books or limit by a specific date range. This is something that will help to make your results much more relevant.

  1. Save your search and material found

It’s important to save your search results so that you can easily find them again.

Advance searching with connectors and commands

  • Alternative Keywords

Let’s say for example you need to answer the question:

Does the use of interactive media in the classroom result in higher levels of engagement from students?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to identify what the keywords are. For example, we’ve got interactive media, classroom, levels of engagement and students. What we’ll need to do now is look for those words and think about alternative keyword. For example, with interactive media we might also look for multimedia, media in education and digital media. A good tip is to check the abstract and keywords of a relevant article. This is a good way to get a sense of how other authors are talking about your subject.

The next stage to think about is how to combine your keywords.

You can combine your searches terms using search connectors, which will allow you to broaden or narrow your search results.

  • Search connectors

First, we are going to discuss the search connector AND; search commands will need to be in capital letters to work on most databases. If you search for cats AND dogs, you’ll find articles or books that contain both keywords. This can be a good way to reduce the amount of results, but can also miss relevant research or find zero results if you’re too specific. N.b. If you leave a space between two words, the search engine will assume that you mean AND.

The next search command is OR. If you search for cats OR dogs, you'll find articles that contain either one of those keywords; it will also find them together as well. Or will help you to broaden out your search and ensure you’re not missing research.

You can use NOT to exclude words. For example, if you are researching the speed of Jaguars, you would potentially find results on the animal and the vehicle. You could use NOT to exclude the word vehicle if you just wanted to find results on the animal. Also, searching  in subject specific databases will only find results for a specific subject area. 

  • Phrase searching

Next we want to search for groups of words. For example, if we're searching for the phrase interactive media and we put it in double quotation marks, you will find the word interactive and media next to each other in that exact order. This is a good way to make your search results more relevant. If I search for interactive media without putting it in double quotation marks, the database won't necessarily find them together.

  • Truncation

The last search command we're going to look at is a way to search for variations. For example, if we want to find variations on the word child. All we need to do is put an asterisk (*) after the d. That would find children, childhood, etc,.​

  • In practice

Let's have a look at what the search might look like when we bring it all together. Go to the library homepage and we’re going to use advanced search. First, you’ll need to sign in to library search, this will mean you have full access to our online resources and will also allow you to save your searches and results.

We recommend using advanced search to create your search. We want to break our search into its different concepts. For example, we've got interactive media and all related terms on one line and you'll notice that those are joined together by OR. You'll also notice that the phrases "interactive media", “Media in education” and "digital media" are in double quotation marks. To join together the overall concepts, we want to use the AND.

Example:

 

Search strategy

Concept 1

"interactive media" OR ebooks OR multimedia OR “Media in education” OR "digital media"

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 2

engagement OR involvement OR participation OR learning

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 3

student* OR pupil* OR child*

Boolean operator

AND

Concept 4

classroom

You can use this general approach with all databases. If you try the above search, you’ll get over a hundred thousand results. There are a number of ways we can limit our search results. The default is to search for those keywords in any field that is the title, the abstract, the body, the keywords. One way to focus the search results is to search just in the title. For example, we could look for the key words about engagement in the title only. Which will reduce our results down to tens of thousands (you’ll need to use advanced search for this to work). We'll look at the other filters in a minute.

Where to search

Library search is a great discovery tool, but it's not a robust search tool. What we mean by this is it doesn't give you a true sense of what been published on a subject area. It's a great resource, but you're going to need to use other databases. If you go to the A to Z of online resources, you'll find a list of specialist databases and other online resources. These resources will enable you to conduct a thorough search.

This is where you'll also be able to access newspaper archives, primary source databases, statistics, etc. The A to Z is broken down into two parts, the first part along the top is just an A to Z. For example, if you were looking for JSTOR you would go to J and you can access it there. We've also grouped relevant databases by subject and you'll be able to find relevant databases in your subject guide.

If the library doesn't have access to something, we offer a free service to allow students to request copies of items that are not available at Sussex Library. If you click on find and request a book and then you’ll get the option to request that book from another library.

Search filters

Next, we'll look at database search filters. We’re using Scopus in this example. The first you need to check on all databases is how your search results have been organized. Some databases will automatically organize results by relevance, prioritizing keywords. Some databases will automatically sort your results by date or citation. In this example we've not got the most relevant results at the top, so we need to reorganize our results by relevance. To further limit your search, you'll need to use the filters. For example, you can use subject area to focus in on education. You can see in Web of Science that you've got a very similar set of filters so we can see we can organize by date. And you can also reorganize by highly cited, hot papers as well.

I'll now demo the filters on library search. First of all, you can see that our search is organized by relevance; prioritising our keywords. You'll find these filters on other databases like Scopus and Web of Science; they have a very similar layout. The first thing we think about doing is limiting our results by date. Next, we could focus in on peer reviewed journals only and maybe we just want to look at articles. If you're still finding, you're getting too many results, then you'll need to go back to your keywords.

Saving results

You can save your search results using the pin and organise them into folders. For example, essay 1. You can also save your search; we recommend saving the search before applying filters. This will help you to keep track of your results, so you can find them again easily for your work and also referencing. We recommend saving your search before applying the filters. If I click on the pin at the top, it will take me through to the items that I’ve saved and I can also access my saved searches. You can also organise your search results into folders. If I add a label and I can reuse an existing label or create a new one. It makes it easier to come back and find those results later.

When to stop searching

A good way to get a sense of when you've done enough is asking:

  • Have you identified key papers in a field?
  • Has your tutor given you an idea of what to expect to find? For example, on climate change, you're going to find a lot of materials.
  • Has there been repetition in the results across different databases? If you're finding the same items, then you can get a sense of whether or not you're finding all of the research.
  • Have you exhausted all reasonable channels of discovery? Have you been through the A to Z, your subject guide looked on different databases for resources?

Skills Hub

On the library home page, there's a link to Skills Hub, and this is where you'll find support on areas such as writing, researching, referencing, and you can also book a one to one with the library on the workshops and tutorials page.

Library contact details

If you have any questions, then you can get in touch this via email phone or the library chat service which will be available on the homepage.

Creating a search

  1. Using your research question identify the keywords required for your search. You are going to use each keyword as a concept. If you haven't got a question then use the one below:

Does the use of interactive media in the classroom result in higher levels of engagement from students?

 

  1. For each concept identify alternative keywords and group together related terms and synonyms. Tip: use any articles or book chapters relevant to your research to identify alternative keywords required for your search.

Search Strategy example:

  Search strategy
Concept 1 "interactive media" OR ebooks OR multimedia OR “Media in education” OR "digital media"
Boolean operator AND
Concept 2 engagement OR involvement OR participation OR learning
Boolean operator AND
Concept 3 student* OR pupil OR child*
Boolean operator AND
Concept 4 classroom
  1. Combine your keywords together using search connectors and commands. Use library advanced search.

You can also review search connectors on Skills Hub: Boolean Connectors and on Video guides: Boolean searching

  1. Refine your search results by using the filter options available on the left hand side of the page or searching within a specific field. For example, the title.

Remember to Sign-in to Library Search to ‘Save search’ (a good way to keep track of evolving search terms), and save items that look relevant for future use.

 

Going beyond Library search

Go to the Education Subject Guide

  1. Watch the video on using ERIC's advance search on the education guide before you start searching. Go to Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and search for evaluative reports at the education level Early Childhood with the intended audience of Teachers on the subject "teaching methods" between the years 2010-2020

  1. Try out your search, or the example above, on Ebsco Education Databases and limit the date between 2010-2020 and to articles only.

  1. Go to the British Education Index (BEI) and find policy papers on the subject "educational equalization".

  1. Go to Library Search and try out the following search – “reflective practice” AND education – limit your results to ebooks; try limiting to education only using the subject filter. See example result here.

  1. Watch the Overview and Methods Map video on Sage Research Methods on the education guide tutorials.

  1. Using A Dictionary of Education (1 ed.) find out the meaning of schema. What is the title of the book recommended for further reading? See answer here.

  1. Find guidance on gender under the topic Education, training and Skills on gov.uk. See example here.