Research skills

Internet searches

Finding information on the Internet

As the amount of information available on the web is so vast, it is important to search for it effectively.  The most common way of searching for freely available information is to use a search engine.  However, a lot of information is not freely available and requires a one-off purchase or subscription.  A large number of useful subscription-resources are paid for by the Library - allowing Solent students free access to quality information.

Search engines

Various search engines are available and are generally straightforward to use.  You can enter your search terms in the query box, limit the search if required, and then view a list of relevance ranked results.

However, unless your query is very specific, you will often find you have a large number of results returned - too many to look through.  Some results may lack relevance to your needs if the terms were found but in an unrelated context.

Examples:

Google, Yahoo, Ask and many more!

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search engine that allows you to search for more academic material such as journal articles and books.  You may not always get the full text but you can identify key resources to pursue.  You can get Scholar to indicate where the Library has access to the full text of items in your results list by going into Settings and, in the Library Links section, searching for and selecting Southampton Solent University.

You may end up with large numbers of results to work through but you can refine your search to try and obtain a useful results list.

Subscribed resources

This refers to resources for which there is an access cost - such as online databases which allow you to search for quality literature (and often provide the full text too).

A lot of the good quality information on the Internet is not freely available.

  • You may be asked to pay for access to it, or it may not be found by search engines as it is located in the 'deep' or 'invisible' web - online resources that web crawlers cannot access
  • Many academic libraries subscribe to a number of these resources to provide their students with free access to quality information.

Southampton Solent University subscribes to over 200 such resources - you can access these via the eResources link on the Library Portal (see below).

Library eResources (Opens in new window)

These resources are worth using as you will be able to search a vast range of quality information for free and may get the full text of a journal article or book online.

Examples:

ABI Inform, Academic OneFile, Art Full Text, Construction Information Service, Fame, IEEE Xplore, Westlaw, Sport Discus and many more!