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What you can learn from this page:
Take a look at this diagram and see what steps you need to follow to begin researching for your assignment.
|1. Look at your assessment task or question||2. Connect your search words||3. Use search tricks||4. Improve your results||5. Practice searching|
What are the main ideas?
What concepts or theories have you covered in your subject?
Write down your main ideas, synonyms, related words and phrases.
"adolescent" OR "teenager"
They mean the same thing. This search will find both (or either) of the search words.
"adolescent" AND "physical activity"
These words represent the main ideas in the question. This will find results with both of the search words.
The asterisk symbol (*) helps you search for words with different endings.
teen* will find words like teen, teens, teenager and teenagers.
“ ... ”
Quotation marks (e.g. "physical activity") will find common phrases to make your results more relevant.
You can narrow your search results in databases by filtering the appropriate fields.
1. Practice searching by using your own assessment question.
2. Our Search Word Generator will help you think of relevant words and phrases to use with AND or OR.
3. Take this 5-10 minute database searching tutorial for guided help with Library's SEARCH.
Identifying the keywords in your assessment question can help you create an effective search and find relevant information.
Searching is a process and there may not be that one perfect source to answer your assessment question.
You'll have to look at many sources and think critically about how they might support your argument.
It can be a challenge to find a research topic that appeals to your interests and also has information to back it up.
Even when you pick a topic that would seem like it should have plenty written about it. "Cat memes are a way that people joke about human personality traits and emotions." But when you search for information on it, you may not find a whole lot. So why can't you find anything?
After all, the library has millions of books and articles surely you can't be the first person to think of this topic, can you?
So what happened?
While there are several reasons your search may have failed, one common reason is that you're looking for the perfect all-in-one source that addresses your exact topic!
Although you may not be the first person to have this particular idea, it's possible that nobody has written about your exact topic (at least, in the academic literature), that is, the perfect source that covers all the facets of your topic may not exist. Does this mean you should give up? Not at all. Let's look at your topic again and break it into subtopics.
"Cat memes are a way that people joke about human personality traits and emotions." If you would search for all these ideas simultaneously in one of the Library's article databases, you wouldn't find anything.
But if you search for articles on any of these subtopics individually, or for two of them together, you'll find quite a bit of information. And if you perform several of these searches, you'll cover your whole topic.
Incidentally, while you're searching, you'll probably need to experiment with synonyms and related terms to optimise your search results.
You'll also probably discover that you'll need to use a variety of source types, some scholarly and some not, to make a complete argument. It really depends on your topic.
Good research isn't about finding the perfect article that makes all the connections for you. It's about finding information that helps you form your ideas and tying it together yourself to make a cohesive argument.