Search tips from other students

Why use Quick Find?


"Using the library search engine is a great tool that some don't think to use."

Here is what some students have told us about Quick Find:

  • It's a good way to start your research, and can help you to refine and get what you are looking for.
  • Use it to get a general idea of your research topic, then focus your keywords to search more specific databases.
  • Some people will advise you to use specialised search tools but if you need journal articles (which you most certainly always will) Quick Find is more than sufficient.
  • For assignments I would definitely look to specific databases for finding reliable information. However Quick Find is more useful for books. I use it as a first port of call to look for ebooks to save a trip to the library.
  • I usually do a general google search to understand a topic, then to write about it academically, I look for specific information - first using google scholar, and then Quick Find.

You might also like to check out:

How to get relevant results?

Search terms are important


"Use different words or terms. Don't just do one search and give up because you didn't find the information you needed. Get creative."

Check out more great tips from students about how they choose their search terms:

  • Use key words, not long phrases and don't dump the whole question in.
  • Use trial and error - change your search terms, use synonyms.
  • Use "quotation marks" if you are looking for a particular phrase.
  • If you find a relevant document use the subject terms or keywords it uses.
  • Use recommended readings to come up with search terms.
  • Look through search results to find new words or subjects to use.

Use filters


"Refine your search in the bar to the left of the page. This way you can discard sources you don't want to find"

Quick Find offers an extensive filtering menu on the left of the search screen. See what filters students find the most useful:

  • Peer-reviewed only - limit results to peer-reviewed articles
  • Publication date - use to find current research.
  • Select a format - just looking for books or only need articles? Choose the format that best suits you.

Just want to find books in the Library? Click "Available in hardcopy" filter.

Check out using filters in Quick Find for more information.

Use advanced search


"I would let students know to always use the advanced search, as it really narrows down the different options and makes it easier to find specific information."

Some students prefer to use the advanced search to narrow results. There are a lot of options you can use to narrow down a search such as:

  • Title - use to find a specific article or book title
  • Author name - for finding information by a specific author
  • Subject terms - use to find information on a particular subject (or to find results that match a specific subject term)

Use the reference lists of good articles


"If you find a really good article, always scour the reference list for good leads onto other articles"

There are two great ways to find relevant articles. When you find a really good article:

  1. Check out that article's reference list - remember these articles will be a little older!
  2. Find what other articles cite this one - these articles will be more recent.

Check out find related articles in Quick Find for more information.