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Guide to Doing Research in The Library

Defining a topic

Before beginning any research you need to:

  • Decide on a topic- The topic shouldn't be too broad or too narrow. Broad topics will result in too much material being found but if the topic is very narrow this may lead to difficulties in finding information.
  • Next you should identify some key concepts and key words related to that topic which can help you in developing a research strategy.
  • Finally you need to decide what resources to use during your research. The following outlines all of the resources available to you in the library that will help you during your research.

Library resources

Library collections

  • General collection– this makes up the bulk of the print resources in the library and consists of books covering a wide range of topics. It can provide a useful starting point for research.
  • Reference– this collection consists of items which can only be consulted in the library. The collection includes dictionaries, directories, reports, student projects, theses etc. The copies of other student projects and theses may be useful for providing an idea of layout, style, referencing etc for research projects.
  • Multi-media– this collection contains videos, DVDs, cassettes and CDs and is most useful for humanities, audio-visual, creative digital media, and language students.
  • Journals- this collection consists of a wide range of journals and other periodicals in print format, and has access to thousands of online journals containing scholarly articles.
  • Newspapers– the library holds copies of 2 daily newspapers, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times. The Irish Times is also available online.

Online resources

  • SEARCH FIND IT! - simultaneously searches the library catalogue PLUS online databases, online journals, ebooks, articles, and material freely available online. A wide range of topics and subject areas are covered. The library recommends that you use this comprehensive discovery search tool.
  • Search Options - search for materials by subject discipline, search other libraries, Google scholar, Arrow research repository.
  • The Library Catalogue allows you to check what books, journals, videos, DVDs, student projects/theses etc. that are physically held in the library, whether they are available and where they are shelved.
  • Databases and Electronic Resources A-Z
    Contains a list of the most important databases and electronic resources that the library subscribes to.
    For a complete list of all the resources that the library recommends for use for research purposes click on Complete Resource Listing .
  • Journals and ebooks A-Z
    Search for journals and ebooks by title or browse for publications by disipline. You can search for topics within a journal title.
  • Subject Guides– Subject guides provide you with information on accessing resources related specifically to your subject area.
  • Subject Internet Gateways– Subject internet gateways provide you with useful sites which provide a starting point for researching your subject on the internet.
  • Internet- web access is available from library PCs in the open access lab and on the mezzanine, and on the library's laptops which are available to borrow for 3 hours for use only within the library.
    A guide to internet searching is available on the website.

Other library resources

Inter library loans

Materials not held in our own library may be requested through our inter-library loans service. 

This material may be requested online from the library homepage by clicking on inter library loans page.

Select the appropriate type of material e.g book, article and fill out the details on the ILL form accurately.

The website will search a number of library online resources as well as TU Dublin - Tallaght Campus library catalogue.

If the material is available you will be guided to where it is located, otherwise the results will indicate availability in other libraries, there will be a link to search the internet and finally you will be prompted to submit an ILL form.

You will require your TU Dublin - Tallaght Campus network ID and password to submit an inter library loan.

Please email any queries to:


Library Tutorials

The library has created online tutorials on:

  • How to:Think Critically
  • How to Avoid Plaigiarism
  • How to Reference Your Sources

For the full List of online tutorials go to Online Tutorials

Accessing other Libraries

You can visit another library to have a look at their collections. Letters giving students 1 day access to another library can be requested at the library desk.
Students and staff from TU Dublin - Tallaght Campus can visit but not borrow from DIT and ITB library on production of their current TU Dublin - Tallaght Campus ID card.
You can obtain a Partner's Card at the library desk to visit other institutes of technololy in Ireland.
See Accessing and visiting other libraries

Subject Librarians

These can assist you with your research, particularly in terms of search strategies and with identifying appropriate information sources relevant to your subject.

The subject librarians and their subject areas are as follows:

To find out more you can email the subject librarians.


You must evaluate your sources to decide if they will be useful i.e. if they are relevant and reliable. To do this you can ask a number of useful questions:

  • what is the content of the source? ( look at contents pages, indexes, abstracts etc.)
  • who are the intended audience? (books aimed at the general public may not be specific enough)
  • Who is the author?
  • What is the edition and publication date? (i.e. is the information recent)
  • Is the source from a well regarded journal?
  • Has the work been reviewed and what do they say?

You need to carefully evaluate web sources as they are not always reliable or accurate. Some other things to keep in mind when evaluating web sources are:

  • what is the domain of the site? (i.e. is it an educational or government site or just someone’s home page),
  • when was it last updated?
  • Have reputable sites got links to this site?


Any piece of written research should be accompanied by a bibliography and citations to acknowledge any sources which contributed to your work. Such references:

  • prove that your work is backed up by credible research
  • allow others researchers to investigate the sources you consulted
  • protect you from accusations of plagiarism.

Guides on referencing and citation are available on our website.

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