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Help Guide: Deciding Where to Start


Welcome to the Library Help Guide:

Not sure where to begin your search for information? This guide suggests a few places you might start.

Use the tabs and dropdown menus above to find further hints and tips.

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LibGuides A-Z

Choosing appropriate sources

Your module Reading Lists are the best place to start when researching a topic, but you will also be expected to find information for yourself. Your subject's LibGuide (see the LibGuides A-Z, below-left) has pages explaining how to go about finding particular resources, and if you're not sure what sort of resources you're after, the following list might provide some inspiration:


Books are great. We're a library so we're bound to say that, but it's true. They can be especially good for getting an overview of a topic and understanding the established background to a subject or situation. Books may have a single author or they may collect essays or articles by a number of different writers exploring a common theme. They might also collect numerous works by a single author into one easy-to-borrow volume. Academic books may draw upon and collate the findings published in academic journals, though they may lack the same level of detail.


eBooks are like books but are considerably lighter and don't take up quite as much space in your bag. You can also access them without having to come into the library (though do feel free to come into the library anyway!). eBooks are particularly handy when it comes to searching, because in many cases you will be able to search within the full text rather than relying on an index or a basic catalogue record.

Journal Articles

The latest academic research and scholarly opinion can be found in journals, making them a key resource for academic writing. Journals are essentially magazines for clever people. Most articles in the library's journals collection have been subjected to a process called "peer-review" whereby fellow academics have judged the merits and rigour of the research involved and have generally insisted on a number of improvements before the article can be published. Some journals are more rigorous than others in this regard, but usually peer-review indicates a level of quality control that may be absent in some books. Engaging with academic literature such as this is also likely to get you good marks, if that's any further motivation to pick up a journal (or to click on it, since most of our journals are online).

The Internet

If you haven't used the internet before, you're in for a real treat! It's crammed full of fascinating and informative stuff, along with lots and lots of pictures of kittens! Unfortunately there's also a lot of rubbish on the internet, and it can be tricky at times to gauge what is sound academic-quality material and what is just plain made up. The LibGuide for your subject will highlight some useful websites and online resources, and also provides useful advice on how to evaluate content in other corners of the net.

News and Media Resources

We have access to a number of newspaper archives and video libraries that are ideal for gaining a historical perspective on a subject, and for understanding public engagement with a topic. Some news outlets are more reliable than others, and newspapers and television seldom cite their sources.


Other sources of information

Your LibGuide will include a breadth of other academic sources for you to exploit: exam papers, dissertations and theses; other libraries and specialist archives; conference proceedings; various ways of keeping up to date with your research area. Many of these sources are listed under the Postgraduate Resources tab of your LibGuide, because Postgraduates are more likely to need them than undergraduates. But adventurous undergrads are welcome to investigate too! Other sources are linked to elsewhere in the LibGuide, so do feel free to have a proper explore. You might find something really useful!


Your reading lists contain direct links to the catalogue records of the books you need, and to the full texts of ebooks and journal articles.


Search for your modules here:




For more information, see the ReadingLists@Hull LibGuide.



What is Summon?

Summon enables you to search across the majority of the library’s electronic resources, covering journal articles, electronic books, web resources, newspaper articles and more, with links to the full text where available.

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Library Help and Support

Need help using library resources?

Hull:         Scarborough:

You can get help via:

the Service Desk in the BJL


telephone: 01482 465250

Alternatively try the Library Website

You can get help via:

the Service Desk in the KDL


telephone: 01723 357277

Alternatively try the Library Website