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EPT127 Research Skills Guide: Identify

Identifying what you need

Planning an effective search strategy can save you time and retrieve more relevant results

At this first stage, you need to work out:

  • what the assessment is asking you to do (key words)
  • how you are going to search for answers to the question (search strategy)

If you are confused or unsure about the assessment topic, ask your lecturer or tutor who will be happy to talk it through with you.

Finding background information

Finding background information on your chosen topic before you pick a claim might seem like doing more work, when you could just jump straight into in-depth research, but it actually provides you with important context that can make the rest of your research project more efficient.  

There are a number of places to find background information:

  • Reference resources like encyclopedias and dictionaries
  • Reliable websites (from informed or authoritative sources; see the Evaluate tab for how to check)
  • Books, including manuals and textbooks
  • Some types of news articles, including reviews, feature articles and explainers.

While you shouldn't use Wikipedia as a source in an academic paper, it can be a fairly reliable source for background information. Citations in Wikipedia articles can sometimes lead you to other good sources, especially on contemporary topics. 

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.