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CUC107 Guide: Researching Your Topic

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Search Tips

Brainstorming & synonyms
You do this by deciding what words represent the topic's concepts (the main ideas), and then think of alternative words for the concepts, known as synonyms.

You then connect the concepts with the Boolean AND operator, and the synonyms with the OR operator:

Finding phrases
You should also put phrases in quote marks so that they found as exact phrases.
If you're researching for information about the importance of cultural capability or intelligence in the workplace it could look something like this in Library Search - Advanced Search

"cultural intelligence" OR "cultural capability"

AND workplace

Useful Databases

Academic Search Premier

Provides full text for nearly 4,000 scholarly publications, including full text for more than 3,100 peer-reviewed journals. Academic Search Premier includes open access (OA) journals. Coverage is multi-disciplinary.

EBSCOhost Databases

Provides access to e-books, e-journals and proprietary full text databases & popular databases from leading information providers. EBSCOhost databases range from general reference to subject-specific databases.

EBSCO eBook Collection

The Ebsco eBook Collection provides access to over 95,000 scholarly ebook titles. Subjects covered include Business, Education, Health, Engineering & Technology, Psychology and Sciences.

Gale Databases

Gale databases provide learners with search tools to narrow results and deliver reliable, timely content for research. Resources include full-text journal articles and newspapers to archives and eBooks.

INFORMIT Databases

Informit is a source of peer-reviewed and scholarly research. All Informit content is now accessible from a single site providing searching across Informit Media, Full Text and Index databases.


JSTOR is a digital library that encompasses books and other primary sources as well as current issues of journals in the humanities and social sciences. It provides full-text searches of almost 2,000 journals.


Articles from over 1800 journal titles with subjects including sciences, technology, medicine and psychology, with a smaller number of arts, humanities, economics & finance, and the social sciences.


Trove is an Australian online library database owned by the National Library of Australia providing access to approximately 90 million items. Search books, images, newspapers, maps, archives and more.

What's a library database?

Creating a Search strategy for your Topic

Where do I search? Benefits of various search tools.

If you have been asked to find academic, credible or peer reviewed information Library Search is a great place to start.


  • one place to find books, ebooks, journal articles, newspaper articles, theses, streaming video and much more
  • results can be filtered many ways - chose peer reviewed articles, full text online, narrow down by date range
  • advanced search allows easy combining of several search terms

Before doing anything uni related login to the portal - This makes it easier to access all your uni related tools with one sign in.

Use quotation marks around an EXACT phrase e.g. "mental health".

If you are looking for books on a topic use keywords, e.g., "mental health" AND "social work".

Library Search is a simple way to search for information resources, including journal articles. But sometimes you will need to use the additional, discipline-specific features provided by specialist databases to find the information that you need for your assignments.

Click the image of CDU Library's A-Z Databases to check out the page

  • Not all of the resources in specialist databases can be found using library search

Subject-specific databases are ideal for searching the journal literature because they are tailored to a particular discipline, and therefore provide the ability to narrow your search in ways that wouldn't be possible in a general database or search tool like Library Search. They vary from each other on subject area, coverage, content types, geographical location, etc - so consider which database/s will be most likely to contain the kind of information you're looking for.


Have a look at your Learnline and see if there is a Reading List attached to the unit. It should be available on the left-hand menu (BB Original) or within your unit content (BB Ultra)

Lecturers can use reading lists to organize and link resources and readings, to direct you to resources they think would be useful and relevant to your areas of study.

Google Scholar can be a handy tool to use to find additional information such as: scholarly literature, some of which can be found in the library collection and some freely available; conference papers or theses.

This tool will not search across the book and eBook collections at the library and may not give you full-text access to every journal article. You also cannot refine results by peer reviewed sources and may show articles that are published in predatory journals which have poor peer review and editing processes.

If you're unsure if an article you find in scholar is from a peer reviewed journal check in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory or the Directory of Open Access Journals or Publons

  • On campus? - links will automatically show "full text @CDU" for CDU-subscribed articles. Open link in new tab.
  • Off campus - you need to change your settings so that Find it @ CDU links automatically appear within Google Scholar in your search results:
    1. Click the three horizontal lines (top left) then go to Settings (the cog at the bottom of the list)
    2. Click Library links
    3. Type in Charles Darwin University and click the search button
    4. Tick Charles Darwin University - Find it @ CDU
    5. Click Save

To retain these settings, you must turn on cookies in your browser settings

If you send your citations to EndNote, under Bibliography Manager, select EndNote

Web Search Engines, like Google or DuckDuckGo can be used to find an overview of your topic, background information, keywords, similar terms or concepts, instructional videos and so much more, such as government and industry resources. Searching by keywords in Google will usually give a huge number of results.

Hints for searching in Google:

  1. try out Google advanced - add a site or domain, opt for search terms to appear "in the title of the page"
  2. use "..." around phrases
  3. if you want Australian statistics search the ABS site, or try adding after your search terms
  4. if you want something from an Australian Government site try adding after your search terms
  5. If you want something from an educational institution try adding after your search terms
  6. if you want a published report try adding filetype:pdf after your search terms

For more watch some videos on "Googling like a pro" or "search tips" in Google

Never cite or reference Wikipedia in an academic paper.

However, it can be a good place to start your search:

1. It's a good place to do background reading.

2. It can help you discover further keywords to use for searching.

3. You can find cited articles.

Watch this video to learn the pros and cons of using Wikipedia.

Locating Government information

Advanced Google

Use the advanced search screen to limit by country and institution - domain field - e.g

Search tips
Use the domain field to limit by country and institution  - e.g

NT Government website

Browse corportate information via departments and A-Z listing of site

To search use  Advance search options include date of publication, department and document type.

Helpful Links

CDU Library

The CDU Library homepage is your one stop shop for almost everything you need to succeed in your studies. Hosting Library Search, links to relevant databases, study guides, help and library services, as well as general information and frequently asked questions, this page is a must bookmark for your study needs.

Study Skills

A site containing a comprehensive range of study skills information to help you understand academic expectations and become a more confident student. Developing academic writing, critical thinking, and the ability to read and understand academic texts, is vital if you wish to succeed as a student and scholar.

Language and Learning Support

The Language and Learning Services team is here to support your academic development at Charles Darwin University (CDU). A free and confidential service to help you build skills including understanding assignments and work standards; how to get the grades you want; and developing your academic writing abilities.

CDU Student Homepage

Need some information or help about your time at CDU? Check out the current student's homepage, which has heaps of info about access to student services, how to find support and the services available and how you can explore your community and get involved!

Reading List

Reading Lists are a great way for your lecturers and unit coordinators to provide you with prescribed texts and recommended reading. Check out all of the Reading Lists you have access to here, and get a start on reading through your unit.

Distance Library Services

Distance Library Services are available to CDU students to help with accessing library services remotely. As a part of these services, you can request digitisation of chapters, or delivery of books to your home address. If you live near another university, reciprocal borrowing services are also available.

Recorded Workshops

Have a look at some of these recorded workshops by the CDU Library's Language and Learning team. These workshops are not live but can be played, paused, and rewatched to help you learn some key skills at University. You can book to attend live workshops through the library website.

Past Exam Papers

Using your CDU login, you can access past exam papers for your units to help prepare for upcoming exams. Exam papers can be searched for using the unit code. Not all lecturers choose to make exam papers available, please contact your lecturer if your exam papers are not listed.

Charles Darwin University acknowledges the traditional custodians across the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders both past and present.
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