Best Research Techniques to prepare yourself for uni

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becaelaine_x
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I have just started a Access to HE course with the intention of going to Uni. Does anyone have any tips or advice when it comes to finding useful information and sources for assignments.

The 4 subjects I am studying are Sociology, Psychology, English and Geography. I just want to get a head and start finding suitable sources to use to support my academic studies.

My college library offers some online resources and physical text books but honestly I trying to get distinctions so I want to make sure I'm using a variety of quality sources when answering my questions and acquiring the best understanding I can.

It's been 6 years since I've been in a school setting and that was for my GCSEs so I never really learnt the skills I'll need now
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Coventry University Student Ambassadors
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(Original post by becaelaine_x)
I have just started a Access to HE course with the intention of going to Uni. Does anyone have any tips or advice when it comes to finding useful information and sources for assignments.

The 4 subjects I am studying are Sociology, Psychology, English and Geography. I just want to get a head and start finding suitable sources to use to support my academic studies.

My college library offers some online resources and physical text books but honestly I trying to get distinctions so I want to make sure I'm using a variety of quality sources when answering my questions and acquiring the best understanding I can.

It's been 6 years since I've been in a school setting and that was for my GCSEs so I never really learnt the skills I'll need now
Hi becaelaine_x,

Like yourself I have done the Access to HE and was really trying to push for those distinctions! Although books and your college library are definitely a good starting point, they are just that. If you can, use sites like Google Scholar to try find research - especially in your sociology and psychology subjects. The general rule of thumb is to try and use journal articles from within the past 5 years (2016 onwards). Use key words and try to keep as concise as possible to find exactly what you need. Journal articles will definitely improve your academic research and further your learning. If you are struggling to find some that are open access (free!), ask your college to see if you have any subscriptions included. I know we did but I studied by Access to HE at CU Scarborough.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else and good luck!

Mel - CU Scarborough Student Ambassador (Primary Education and Teaching Studies)
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denideth
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Google Scholar was an excellent resource for me when I did my ATHE diploma!
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joanneg76
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(Original post by becaelaine_x)
I have just started a Access to HE course with the intention of going to Uni. Does anyone have any tips or advice when it comes to finding useful information and sources for assignments.

The 4 subjects I am studying are Sociology, Psychology, English and Geography. I just want to get a head and start finding suitable sources to use to support my academic studies.

My college library offers some online resources and physical text books but honestly I trying to get distinctions so I want to make sure I'm using a variety of quality sources when answering my questions and acquiring the best understanding I can.

It's been 6 years since I've been in a school setting and that was for my GCSEs so I never really learnt the skills I'll need now
I did access to science last year and we had a whole unit called study skills and academic writing skills where they covered how to find credible sources for assignment writing. Do you have anything like that?

Journal articles are definitely what you need to use for those distinctions, but they can be long and quite difficult to read. Always read over the abstract first as it gives a complete overview of the whole article and whether you need to read on. My tutor was excellent and if I was unsure whether to use a certain source as a reference, I could email him the link to look over it.

Good luck, I’m sure you’ll be fine.
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Taby p
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(Original post by becaelaine_x)
I have just started a Access to HE course with the intention of going to Uni. Does anyone have any tips or advice when it comes to finding useful information and sources for assignments.

The 4 subjects I am studying are Sociology, Psychology, English and Geography. I just want to get a head and start finding suitable sources to use to support my academic studies.

My college library offers some online resources and physical text books but honestly I trying to get distinctions so I want to make sure I'm using a variety of quality sources when answering my questions and acquiring the best understanding I can.

It's been 6 years since I've been in a school setting and that was for my GCSEs so I never really learnt the skills I'll need now
Hello, I hope this article might help
Most of the sources you encounter online are not credible. Credibility is a trait that explains the degree to which a source can be trusted. To write academic papers, you need to know how to find the good ones. General characteristics of a good source are:

There are identifiable authors (author). John Doe, xxDarkShadowxx, and other fake names obviously do not qualify as identifiable. Ideally, you should be able to check the author’s credentials and see if he/she is competent.
The resource you are citing should not be biased for/against a particular point of view. Take the sensitive topic of marijuana as an example: a website that has a clear purpose of advocating for cannabis legalization is not a good source to cite in objective research on the effects of marijuana. However, if you are writing an essay that discusses legalization/prohibition movements - it is a different story. Use logic and reason and think of the incentives of authors.
Look for respected academic journals and book authors. Even if a book has an ISBN and it is sold on Amazon, it is still not credible if it is written by, say, Flat Earth Society members. The same goes for academic journals: check if the journal publishes articles with grammar mistakes and unproven claims. The presence of a .doi does not mean that the article is 100% credible.
A good source will likely contain no grammatical and stylistic errors.
Credible sources cite information.
Links to all factual and statistical information are given.
It is generally not older than 5-10 years. History and some other disciplines usually allow old sources but think of the relevance of information logically. A 2015 market report is not usable in the analysis of the performance of a company in 2020. Theories, factual data, sociological opinion, political situation, and tons of other factors can change and compromise the currency of the information.
With a bit of critical thinking and searching you will easily identify sources that are worth using. Assessing credibility gets easier the more you do it, so don’t expect to do it right away. Take your time and be patient to make your works backed up by solid evidence.
I wish you all the best in your studies
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becaelaine_x
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(Original post by Coventry University Student Ambassadors)
Hi becaelaine_x,

Like yourself I have done the Access to HE and was really trying to push for those distinctions! Although books and your college library are definitely a good starting point, they are just that. If you can, use sites like Google Scholar to try find research - especially in your sociology and psychology subjects. The general rule of thumb is to try and use journal articles from within the past 5 years (2016 onwards). Use key words and try to keep as concise as possible to find exactly what you need. Journal articles will definitely improve your academic research and further your learning. If you are struggling to find some that are open access (free!), ask your college to see if you have any subscriptions included. I know we did but I studied by Access to HE at CU Scarborough.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else and good luck!

Mel - CU Scarborough Student Ambassador (Primary Education and Teaching Studies)
Hey Mel,

Thanks for the response.

When looking for journals on say Marxist Explanations on Crime would I word it as Marxist Criminology or be more specific with Google scholar?

I do have a few resources but not many which is a bit difficult. The college library compromises of mostly textbooks which I don't want to rely on for all my information and their subscriptions are limited, especially in terms of my subjects.

Thank you for the information in regards to time frame on journals, that will help potentially narrow down my field!

Thanks for the response and the help
Rebecca x
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becaelaine_x
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(Original post by denideth)
Google Scholar was an excellent resource for me when I did my ATHE diploma!
That seems to be the general response, it just finding a credible source that is free or my college has access to.
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becaelaine_x
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(Original post by joanneg76)
I did access to science last year and we had a whole unit called study skills and academic writing skills where they covered how to find credible sources for assignment writing. Do you have anything like that?

Journal articles are definitely what you need to use for those distinctions, but they can be long and quite difficult to read. Always read over the abstract first as it gives a complete overview of the whole article and whether you need to read on. My tutor was excellent and if I was unsure whether to use a certain source as a reference, I could email him the link to look over it.

Good luck, I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Thank you for the response. We do have study skills but currently are first task is to work on our personal statements which is great but doesn't help when I'm already getting assignments from my subjects so I'm trying to self teach myself these skills.

As for journals I haven't thought about the abstracts and I'll make sure to look at those more. We have access to JStor (I think that's its name) it just finding sources to back up the points I already have.

My tutor for sociology is pretty chill but he's very much a we have to do it all ourselves which make sense as we are preparing for university but for someone who's been out of school for 6 years and it's the first assignment I had hoped for a bit more guidance!
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becaelaine_x
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(Original post by Taby p)
Hello, I hope this article might help
Most of the sources you encounter online are not credible. Credibility is a trait that explains the degree to which a source can be trusted. To write academic papers, you need to know how to find the good ones. General characteristics of a good source are:

There are identifiable authors (author). John Doe, xxDarkShadowxx, and other fake names obviously do not qualify as identifiable. Ideally, you should be able to check the author’s credentials and see if he/she is competent.
The resource you are citing should not be biased for/against a particular point of view. Take the sensitive topic of marijuana as an example: a website that has a clear purpose of advocating for cannabis legalization is not a good source to cite in objective research on the effects of marijuana. However, if you are writing an essay that discusses legalization/prohibition movements - it is a different story. Use logic and reason and think of the incentives of authors.
Look for respected academic journals and book authors. Even if a book has an ISBN and it is sold on Amazon, it is still not credible if it is written by, say, Flat Earth Society members. The same goes for academic journals: check if the journal publishes articles with grammar mistakes and unproven claims. The presence of a .doi does not mean that the article is 100% credible.
A good source will likely contain no grammatical and stylistic errors.
Credible sources cite information.
Links to all factual and statistical information are given.
It is generally not older than 5-10 years. History and some other disciplines usually allow old sources but think of the relevance of information logically. A 2015 market report is not usable in the analysis of the performance of a company in 2020. Theories, factual data, sociological opinion, political situation, and tons of other factors can change and compromise the currency of the information.
With a bit of critical thinking and searching you will easily identify sources that are worth using. Assessing credibility gets easier the more you do it, so don’t expect to do it right away. Take your time and be patient to make your works backed up by solid evidence.
I wish you all the best in your studies
Thank you for the response! This has given me quite a few points to look out for credible sources! Thank you very much for the advice and guidance
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