Essentially, academic resources are those which meet certain quality-control standards by going through various types of review - the one you’ll become most familiar with during your studies is peer review. This is a lengthy process which ensures that material published in academic journals is of high quality, and suitable for others (like you!) to reference and build upon.
Watch the clip below, which points out some things you can look out for to determine whether the book you’re holding in your hand, or the journal article you’re reading online, is a suitable academic resource:
You can test your understanding of academic sources further through an interactive tutorial.
Where are academic resources found?
The next thing is knowing where to look. While the Open Access movement is growing, currently most academic journal subscriptions cost money - if you've ever used Google Scholar and been asked to pay to access an article, that’s why. But the good news is that now you're a Monash student, you won't need to pay again!
The Library subscribes to a huge amount of databases which give you access to academic resources. Monash Library Search is our resource discovery tool, and it's where we recommend you start. It will search not only our physical collections but also a number of the online databases we subscribe to. It'll retrieve a lot of results that you can quickly and easily narrow down to those that suit what you're after. We have plenty of videos that show you how to do this.
To make sure you’re researching thoroughly, look directly in databases too. Databases are often the place you'll need to go to find discipline-specific information, so don't forget about them!
To find the databases that are the best for your research, head to your Faculty- and/or Discipline-specific Library Guide, where you’ll find targeted information. For example, if you look at the Library Guide for Civil Engineering, you’ll see that Compendex, Inspec, and Scopus are the best databases for you to start with. Some other disciplines will have databases that are very topic-specific, as well as more general - check out the Library Guide for Middle East History to see what I mean. Alternatively you can can view the A-Z List of all our databases,
It's important that you build your skills in evaluating information to make sure you’re using the right materials to support your own arguments in your assignment.
If you skipped the video clip above, go back to get started, or chat to a librarian at your library’s Research and Learning Point - they’ll be able to put you on the right track! Or, if you want to go more in-depth, check the Library Class Booking System for workshops on effective searching.