Step 1 - Analyse
Step 2 - Translate
Step 3 - Pre-search
Step 4 - Search the catalogue
Step 5 - Search databases
Step 6 - Search the Web
Step 7 - Evaluate information
Step 8 - Collect and cite your references
When you are given a written assessment, read through it carefully.
Are you being asked to:
Circle the 'action' words so that they stand out. Note the number of words required, whether a certain number of references are expected, the format in which to submit it (emailed? handed in? upload to Blackboard?) and the date due.
This is the fun part. What are the keywords or concepts in this assessment: Write a 500 word essay on the topic:
Think of synonyms for the main concepts:
effects > consequences, outcomes
carbon tax > carbon price
SME > small business or medium business
Searching the catlogue is easy!
Remember, the catalogue lists books, DVDs, videos, and titles of journals.
If you are seeking articles from journals, you will need to look in several databases, Step 5.
More about catalogue searching here.
Tips for searching databases:
|Use very specific keywords when searching for information|
|Select full-text when conducting your search|
|Include a date range to ensure up to date information, eg. 2007-2012|
|Read the abstract to see if the article is relevant|
|Take the time to watch the online tutorial for the database of your choice|
If you find a good, representative article, note the subject headings for that article. Use those headings when you search again.
More about database searching here.
There are many excellent websites that teach how to evaluate information. Start with Central's tutorial here.
One of the oldest, and one of the best, is Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to apply & questions to ask from UC Berkeley.
Subject based tutorials may be found at the Virtual Training Suite. Just scroll down to your choice.
Try YouTube's list of tutorials here.
Your work is not finished until you've correctly attributed (provided a reference for) every source you have used in your assignment. Remember that it's always better practice to keep a list of your references as you write the paper.
We acknowledge Central Institute of Technology for allowing some of their guide content to be adapted for use in this guide.