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Searching for information

Ways to search

Using appropriate and relevant information sources will help to strengthen the quality of your work and independent research. To find good quality academic information it is essential that you know the best resources to search within, and use appropriate search techniques.

Using your module reading lists

Most modules at the University of Leeds have a reading list to help you find out more about the subject.

Reading lists contain books and journal articles recommended by tutors for a particular module and are a good starting point for finding good quality relevant information. Some lists might be short, with less than five items, whilst others are longer and split into sections.

Find your reading list.

Understand your reading list

It can sometimes be difficult to understand the references in reading lists. Are they books, chapters in books, or journal articles? Here are some tips to help you understand these references.

A book reference contains:

  • author(s)
  • date published
  • title (often in bold or italics)
  • place of publication
  • and sometimes the name of the publisher.

It will look something like this: Lewis, D. and Allan, B. 2005. Virtual learning communities: a guide for practitioners. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

A book chapter reference contains:

  • specific information about the chapter (author and title)
  • details about the whole book
  • and page numbers of the chapter.

The big clue that a reference is a book chapter is the use of the word “in” between the chapter information and the book details.

A book chapter reference will look like: Coffin, J.M. 1999. Molecular biology of HIV. In: Crandell, K.A. ed. The evolution of HIV. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, pp.3-40.

Most journal articles are online, and a reference will contain:

  • the author
  • date
  • article title
  • journal title
  • journal volume number
  • journal issue number (not always)
  • page numbers of the article
  • date on which the article was accessed
  • URL of the article

It will look like: El Gharras, H. 2009. Polyphenols: food sources, properties and applications - a review. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. [Online]. 44(12), pp.2512-2518. [Accessed 10 June 2013]. Available from:

Search the Library

Search our resources to find books, journal articles, and other information.

Search the Library resources to go beyond your reading list and to find information about a topic. It might not seem very different to any other search engine that you’ve used in the past, but our search gives you access to information online and in print from Leeds University Library. This information has been chosen to help you to research your subject, so it’s a good place to get great quality information without the ‘noise’ of the internet interfering.

Our search is simple to use. Start your search by typing a keyword or phrase into the search box, then click 'Search'. It then returns a list of all the information matching your search terms. Take a look at the following video for more detailed information:

Get the most from your search

Find out how to get the most from your searches: