When you perform a search, your results are tied to the keywords that you use. It is therefore very important that you use the right words in your search so that you find the right information. Look at your topic or research question and identify the key concepts related to your topic.
When you are performing your search, ignore any directive verbs in your question like 'compare', 'analyse' or 'define'. These are instructions for how you should write your assignment and should not form the basis of your search.
Using the keywords you've identified, try a search in the Library Catalogue or appropriate databases. Keep in mind that you should restrict your search to the type of material you want to find. You'll find options to Refine where you can specify if you want to find journal articles, newspaper articles and other types of sources.
See the links to the different assessments (available in the guide menu above) for further tips on where and how to search.
Authors often use different terms or words to describe the same concepts. It is therefore important that you search using a range of alternative terms related to the main concepts from your topic as this can help you find relevant resources. You can find alternative terms in a number of ways:
1. Use a thesaurus or brainstorm with others
For certain words, using a thesaurus can be a powerful way of identifying related terms on which to search. Consider the keyword "Manager". Using an online thesaurus we are given a number of suggestions:
Talking over your keywords with friends, family or colleagues can also be a great way to identify alternative terms that cover your concepts.
2. Use Google and Wikipedia
A thesaurus might not work well for more technical or subject specific language so it is best to look at tools such as Wikipedia or general Internet searching for an overview of the concept in an attempt to identify alternative keywords. For example, if you were interested in finding alternative terms for the concept of "Indigenous Australians", you could look it up on Wikipedia and you will find the following suggestions:
NOTE: For this assignment, you have been instructed not to use Wikipedia as a reference. You can use it to identify alternative terms for searching purposes, but you should not be taking information from Wikipedia and using it in your assignment!
3. Use keywords from relevant articles
Using the keywords from your question, you may find a few relevant articles within the library catalogue or databases. If you do, you can use these articles to identify the keywords or subject headings which have been applied. Most articles will list the suggestions under headings like Keywords or Subjects (see the journal article below).
The following points can help you decide if a source is academic: