Are you not sure where to start with your assignment? Here are a few steps you can follow to gain a better understanding of your topic and to find keywords to use to start researching your topic.
Learn more about Library Search.
Here is a helpful document that will provide some guidance on how to develop keywords and on how to develop a search strategy using the keywords (esp. have a look at the example on page 2).
Consider the following:
What other words can be used in place of your topic words? Explain the topic in your own words. What words do you use? Use a thesaurus to find other words.
Topic: “Discuss potential health promotion strategies in relation to reducing the incidence of smoking during pregnancy”.
Read your assignment question/task/topic a few times to develop a good understanding and to identify all task, topic and limiting words.
Some additional topic words from thesaurus.com:
Use your topic, your task, topic and limiting words and ask questions of your topic:
This will give you a better understanding of your topic.It will also help you to get an idea of how you might want to structure your assignment.
Consider brainstorming with another student or a group of students.
Write your ideas on a piece of paper, map your ideas, use a brainstorming app.
Who runs health promotion strategies in regards to smoking? Who is the target group?
What health promotion strategies exist?
When are women targeted with these promotional strategies? When should women be made aware of the risk of smoking during pregnancy?
Where are health promotion strategies promoted?
Why do we need these health promotion strategies?
How can these health promotion strategies be improved? How can the target group be reached?
Now that you have developed a good understanding of your topic and have found keywords it is time to search CDU Library through Library Search.
Possible search term combinations for Library Search:
Use your refinement options in Summon to restrict your results to 'full text online' and 'limit to articles from scholarly publications'.
Narrow down your search by narrowing down the date range.
Select 'Journal articles' or 'Books' to narrow down your search to specific media.
If you have been asked to find academic, credible or peer reviewed information Library Search is a great place to start.
Before doing anything uni related login to the portal - portal.cdu.edu.au. This makes it easier to access all your uni related tools with one sign in.
Books and eBooks are good academic sources of information. They give a thorough overview of a topic, are usually well researched and have undergone a stringent publication and editorial process. This does mean they can take a long time to be published.
If you know the EXACT title of the book, enclose it in quotation marks, e.g. "The road to social work and human service practice"
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"
|Find a physical book||Find an eBook?|
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.
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.
Sometimes a lecturer wants students to read a journal article that CDU Library doesn't have, or read a chapter of a book only available in print. It will be digitised and put into the Reading List for your unit, accessible via Learnline for students to read. If you can't find an article or book chapter in Library Search look in Reading List as it may be there.
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:
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:
Watch this video to learn the pros and cons of using Wikipedia.
You will need to evaluate the sources you find - are they suitable to use (and reference) in academic assignments?
Use these evaluation criteria to assess online resources:
Currency - when was the work published, is id out of date for the topic?
Relevance - is it detailed analysis, what is the readership level
Authority - who are the authors and their credentials- is it peer reviewed?
Accuracy - can you verity the source, are there other sources cited in the references?
Purpose - is there bias in the work, is there are particular perspective?