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Research tips


You can expand or narrow your search results by using connectors (or operators) to form a relationship between your search terms.

AND - connects your terms together. You will only retrieve results that contain ALL your terms

OR - expands your results. You will retrieve results that contain ANY of your terms

NOT - excludes terms from your results

More search operators

(brackets OR parentheses) - brackets groups terms together, particularly useful for grouping synonyms in an OR search

"quotation marks" - put terms in double quotation marks to search for the words as an exact phrase

You can use a database or search engine's 'advanced' search options to bring up the AND, OR and NOT connectors, and also to be able to choose which field is being searched for your terms. A regular or 'basic' search will search for your terms across any/all fields, but in an advanced search you can specify to only search fields such as 'title', 'author', 'subject' or 'abstract'.


In academic search engines like Library Search, ProQuest or EBSCO you can refine your results by options such as:

  • Content type, e.g. books, peer-reviewed journal articles or newspaper articles
  • Date range
  • Topic/subject


A referencing style is a set of rules telling you how to acknowledge the thoughts, ideas and works of others in a particular way.

Citing shows the reader the quality of resources you used to build and support your arguments. It provides a way for the reader to locate the resources you referred to. 

Referencing is a crucial part of successful academic writing and is key to your assignments and research.



If you find a good resource, it's a good idea to keep it somewhere so that you can refer to it again if needed. If you use a reference management tool such as EndnoteMendeley or RefWorks, not only can you save the citation, but you can add a PDF document of an article, or a web link directly to the resource. You can also save resources in Library Search by using the pin button. 'Pinning' a resource adds it to your 'My Collection', so that you can go back and access the resource if required. Particularly useful for last minute reference quote checking!

Psychology and counselling