Hi! I'm Jess, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for ESA512: International Educational Leadership. 

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.

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.

For example, in Assessment 2, you are asked to choose a contemporary educational issue and write a comparative case study of two or three educational jurisdictions and the ways in which each are addressing this issue. If I were to choose 'standardised testing' as my focus, my brainstorm might look like this: 

Keywords Synonyms or related terms
standardised testing  standard, test, exam, examination 
education  educational, school, classroom, pedagogy, teaching & learning

Also consider what limits you may need to apply. These might be "in the last X years" or Australian content only. For this task, you would need to consider at least two jurisdictions. So for example, you may construct one main search string, and then add on 'Australia', and later sub in 'Ontario'. 

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 Education & Teaching list has more databases you can search.


Learn how to search efficiently in Primo and Library 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.

For your assessment topic potential search strings could include:

  • standardi?ed AND (test* OR exam*) AND (school OR education OR classroom) 
  • standardi?ed AND (test* OR exam*) AND (school OR education OR classroom) AND Australia*
  • standardi?ed AND (test* OR exam*) AND (school OR education OR classroom) AND Ontario 
  • standardi?ed AND (test* OR exam*) AND pedagog* AND (challenge OR problem)

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.

Keen for more?

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

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:

Your textbook

Good news!

Your textbooks are available online through the library!

However access to both eBooks is limited to several users at the one time. Follow the best practice in the video below to ensure you have access to what you need without disadvantaging other students in your subject.