Before you begin looking for resources for your assignment or research, focus on planning your search strategy. A small amount of time now will save you time and frustration later. Here are some tips on planning your search.
Click the play button below to watch the video on Identifying Search Terms (01:59).
Click the play button below to watch the video on Evaluating Information Resources (02:16).
Before you start researching for an assignment it is a good idea to plan out your search strategy. Use this downloadable search planner to get started.
To increase your search results you can apply some of the strategies outlined below:
Join similar terms with OR, for example:
"university" OR "higher education" to ensure either term appears in your results
organi?ation will find both organisation and organization
Use the truncation symbol at the end of your terms to find variant endings. The truncation symbol is usually the asterisk * for example:
Note: truncation symbol can vary between databases, so it’s best to check in the search tips section of the database to see which symbol is used.
To narrow your search results you can apply some of the strategies outlined below:
Join different concepts or ideas with AND, for example:
"primary students" AND "mathematics skills" to ensure both terms appear in your results.
Use these advanced search techniques to improve your search results.
Phrase searching narrows a search to show results that contain an exact phrase.
This is useful when you want to search for a certain string of words.
To conduct a phrase search, add double quote marks around two or more words you want to search for.
For example: searching for "health education" will only return records that contain this exact term. The search will not return results where the word "health" or "education" appear separately.
Truncation and wildcard searching broadens a search to show results that include words with variant endings or spellings.
To conduct a truncation search, use an asterix character * to indicate where the variant ending starts.
For example, searching for child* will return records that contain any of these words: child, child's, children, children's, childhood
Wildcard searching, using the symbol '?", is useful for words that have slight differences in spelling e.g. 'women' and 'woman', 'organisation' and 'organization'. Insert the ? to replace the variant letter to retrieve both versions of a word, e.g. wom?n; organi?ation.
Boolean searching allows you to combine keywords with operators (such as AND, OR, NOT) to produce more relevant results
Using the word AND between two search terms narrows a search to show results containing both terms.
Conversely, using the word OR between two terms broadens a search to show results containing either term.
Using NOT will narrow your search by excluding certain results from your search, however as the video on the next tab shows it should be used with care as this technique can remove relevant results.
When you refer to or use someone else's publications or data in your research or teaching you should attribute the creator by providing a citation that includes information about the creator and source.
Visit the Attribution webpage to find information on how to format the attribution, where to put the attribution and examples for images, podcasts and streaming videos.
Learn about how and why we use sources in academic writing by visiting the Deakin Guide to Referencing.