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Deakin College

Plan Your Search

Magnifying glass on clipboardBefore you begin looking for resources for your assessment 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.



Search Planner

Before you start researching for an assessment it is a good idea to plan out your search strategy. Use this downloadable search planner to get started.

Database Tips

I'm not finding many relevant resources, how can I find more?

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

Use a ? to replace a character in a word to find different spellings or endings, for example:

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:

  • account* will find account, accounts, accountant, accounting
  • teach* will find teach, teacher, teaching
  • Australia* will find Australia, Australian, Australians

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.

I'm finding too many resources, how can I narrow my search?

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.

Reference Your Sources

Learn about how and why we use sources in academic writing by visiting the Deakin Guide to Referencing.

Further Tips and Advice

Visit the Skills for Study page to learn more great tips, tools and techniques to support your research and studies.