Books are often the best starting point for research as they will give you an overview of a topic and will help to put it in context.

Advantages Disadvantages
Usually written by experts (if you get them from a university library) DO NOT contain the latest research – due to the length of the publishing process
Give a broad overview & context to a subject Aim to use other sources in conjunction with book to ensure you're keeping up-to-date; e.g. journals
Usually the best starting point for research  

Finding useful books

You can find books and electronic books (ebooks) (as well as audiovisual resources) by searching the Library Catalogue.

If you are searching for a specific book (e.g. Collaborative Social Work Practice by Anne Quinney) use the Author or Title options in the Library Catalogue and type in the relevant details.

If you are looking for books on a topic (e.g youth crime), use the Keywords option and type in your search terms.

Be sure to make a note of:

  • the location - this is the campus library where the book is kept
  • the classmark - this is the number where you will find the book on the library shelves e.g. Collaborative Social Work Practice by Anne Quinney is kept at 361.32 QUI at Bedford, Polhill Library. "361.32" refers to the shelf number. "QUI" refers to the first three letters of the author's name and is used to sort the book alphabetically on the shelf.
  • the status - this will tell you if the book is available or out on loan
If the book you need is out on loan or is not kept at your 'home' campus library you can reserve it using the Reserve button on the library catalogue. You may reserve up to 6 items at any one time. For more information about reservations click here.

For further help see this short video on using the Library Catalogue here.

You may also find it useful to browse the library shelves in the appropriate subject areas. Check out this list of useful classmarks for the Applied Social Studies.

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