So you've just been handed your assignment and you don't know where to start?
Before you begin looking for information you should:
Following these steps will help you get ready to start your search for information.
Remember: If you are unsure of anything you should contact your teacher as they will be the one marking your work!
To start your search you need to determine the main parts of your assignment question.
Assignment questions contain instructional words, keywords and limiting words. These form the structure of your assignment.
Instruction words tell you how to approach the topic or subject, and clarify what focus your research should take.
Keywords are single words or phrases which define the subject or main ideas of the question. To identify the keywords of your question:
Limiting words determine where to start and stop and set limits to your topic.They may identify specific time periods or geographic areas, eg. Australia or 20th century.
Note: you will use the keywords and limiting words when conducting your search
The following may also be relevant when choosing keywords:
TIP: If you can't think of any synonyms or related terms yourself, try searching a thesaurus, dictionary or encyclopaedia
For more help watch the video tutorials below.
Once you have found your keywords you need to create a search query. A search query simply involves combining your keywords using Search Operators AND, OR, NOT when searching the library catalogue or databases. These search operators will help you to broaden or narrow your search.
- Combines keywords in a search
- Finds records containing all of the keywords
- Produces fewer results
- For example, searching using AND will provide results that contain both keywords: Carbon tax AND Australia
- The AND operator will only find records that include all of the keywords. This will narrow your search
- Use AND to combine your different keywords Carbon tax AND Australia
- Combines alternative keywords or synomyns
- Finds records containing either or both keywords
- Produces more results
- For example, searching using OR will provide results that contain both keywords: Carbon tax OR Emissions tax
- The OR operator will find records that include either keyword. This will broaden your search
- Use OR to combine keywords with similar meaning (synonyms) and other alternative search keywords
- Use to exclude a keyword
- Each record retrieved will contain the first but NOT the second keyword
- For example, searching using NOT will provide results that contain the keyword Australia but excludes the keyword Australasia.
- The NOT operator ensures records that include the first keyword, but not the second keyword are found
- Use NOT with caution because you may inadvertently exclude useful material
Before moving onto the next tutorials, ensure you understand the following:
|What exactly are you required to do?||Read the assignment task & the assignment marking criteria sheet carefully|
|What type of assignment is it?||Is it an essay, report or oral presentation?|
When is it due?
Plan and allocate time for researching information, writing the draft assignment, checking and editing the finished assignment.
How long should the assignment be?
How many words or approximate number of pages?
Remember to talk to your teacher if there is any confusion.
© TAFE Queensland 2017. All rights reserved.