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Study Skills: how to quickly find resources for your essay

Not only does going to university mean dealing with a new lifestyle but also handling new tasks such as writing assignments.

At first, writing academic papers can be a daunting task for students who aren’t used to these types of academic activities. If you feel lost every time your lecturer asks you to write an essay, you’ve landed on the right page. In this post, we focus on the research process, providing you with some tips to better find useful resources for your academic papers.

With the development of digital, finding sources for essays has become easy for students who have 24/7 access to useful data and Open Educational Resources (OERs). However, finding reliable information has become more challenging, as there are many online articles that can’t be cited or aren’t credible.

Furthermore, many first-year students have difficulties in using large academic libraries, home of thousands of books, journals and electronic resources.

It’s important you learn how to use your university library and look for reliable resources so you’ll be able to demonstrate that you’ve conducted good research and your work is built on strong information.

Below are some tips to master your research process.

  • Pay attention to suffixes – Online you will find different types of resources, so it’s important you consider the domain name suffix. There are some suffixes that are more reliable than others: .edu relates to pages created by an educational institution or university; .org refers to websites that have been created by organisations; .gov underlines that the webpage was built by the government, and .com relates to pages that were created by businesses that sell products or services.

  • Use the conjunction and to combine keywords and phrases within an electronic database – If you type an entire sentence within an electronic database, you’ll not get successful results; so, it’s important you select the right keywords and concepts, and link them together with the conjunction and.

  • Be creative – When looking for a specific source, try to express your topic in different ways. An article about higher education might not have the word higher education within the title. However, you can find titles containing words such as universities or campuses.

  • Use Google Scholar – Google Scholar is a good method for you to find academic and reliable resources. By using this search engine, you’ll be able to look for articles, books, and thesis. As all the content in Google Scholar is peer-reviewed, it is considered reliable.

  • Browse museums’ websites – Did you know that by browsing the most famous museum websites you can find useful and high-quality content?  So, take a look at them – they won’t let you down.

  • Select the right database – It’s important you search on a database that owns resources related to your subjects. Most university databases cover a wide range of topics, but, before starting your research make sure you’re looking in the right place.


Writing an essay can be a daunting task for many students who don’t know how to deal with it. Above, we’ve outlined several tips to master your research process! Happy writing!

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