Hi. I'm Toby, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for CUS101. 

Each section introduces the steps you should take when researching for an assessment. You'll find links to videos and resources that will give you the tools to find great information. Use the activities on the test your knowledge tab to see what you need to revise.

If you would like an introduction to our Library website and services, check out:

Getting started with your assessment

The first thing is to make sure you clearly understand the task and what topic you are seeking information for, this is called topic analysis. Check your assessment task details in your Subject Outline.

With an understanding of your task you then need to plan how you will search for information. This starts with identifying and brainstorming keywords.

From your assessment task:

Keywords Synonyms or related terms
border management border security, customs, border protection service, national security, security management, protection, agencies, cross-border
challenges* customs violations, importation, infringements 

* you will need to identify keywords and brainstorm alternative terms relevant to the issue from your chosen article.
It's important to understand the limits of the assessment task, for example your assessment requires a contemporary (last 24 months) media article. 

For guidance in topic analysis check out:

Choose the right place to search

Before you start searching, think about what types of information you need and where you can search to find those types of resources.

Primo Search

Primo Search is a good place to start as it allows you to use one search box to bring back results from most of our Library collection including books, eBooks, journal articles, newspaper articles and more. You may get a large number of results and some of these will be from outside your subject/discipline area. Check the content is relevant to your assessment task before you use it.

Library databases

Databases will help you find academic resources and are often subject specific. You will get fewer results than Primo, but they will be more relevant to your subject/discipline.

I recommend trying the following databases:

The Customs, Excise & Security list has more databases you can search.

For more recommendations check the Customs and Border Protection Library Resource Guide.

Learn how to search efficiently in Primo and Library databases:

Newspaper and Media Databases

For some assessment tasks you may need to access news items, newspaper articles, or documentaries. Newspaper and media resources can give insight on current affairs, public or political opinion, and local or international events.
In your assessment you've been asked to find a media article discussing a contemporary (within the last two years) border management issue.

I recommend trying the following databases:

Create a search strategy

When you search using Primo Search or a library database use the keywords and limits you identified above to create your search. Combine the keywords with "search operators", rather than searching with a whole sentence or question. Search operators tell Primo or the database how to search with your keywords.

Use AND to retrieve results that contain both of your search terms. police AND federal
Use OR to retrieve results that contain any or all of your search terms. protection OR security
Using NOT to exclude irrelevant results. border NOT collie
Search for terms with different word endings using an asterisk. manag* = manage, managed, managing, management
question mark can be used to replace a single letter within a word. analy?e = analyse, analyze
Use quotation marks to search for a phrase. "border management"

For your assessment topic potential search strings could include:

  • customs (regulation OR administration) AND Australia
  • "border management" AND (protection OR security)

Remember: you will need to try a range of searches. Don't stop after just one.

To understand how search operators work check out:


Using credible information will improve the quality of your assessment and may result in better marks, but how can you tell whether the resources you've found are credible and suitable for your assessment? Have you been asked to use peer reviewed, academic or refereed articles? Are you using authoritative websites?

The information below will help you evaluate the information you find, in books, journal articles, or online to make sure it’s reliable.

Reading, writing and referencing

The Academic Skills team can help you to build your writing, referencing and reading skills to be successful at Charles Sturt.

Explore resources from the Academic Skills team in the Learning Skills section of the Student Portal.

Here are some pages to get you started:

Search skills demonstration

Watch this video for an overview of the library services and how to search for information.

You can download a PDF of the slide deck below.

Keen for more?

If you're interested in finding out more, check out the following: