Hi. I'm Ellen, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for IKC101. 

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.

Your question for Assessment 2 is is to select two events from the Australian History Timeline; one pre-1967, the other post-1967.This will enable you to investigate the evolution of approaches to Australian policy for Indigenous Australian peoples. 

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
Indigenous  Aboriginal, First Nations, Torres Strait Islander
Policy action, administration, guideline, strategy, scheme
Referendum Election, poll, vote, mandate

For guidance in topic analysis check out:

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.

Search Operator/Symbol Example
Boolean Operators Use AND to retrieve results that contain both of your search terms. Indigenous AND culture
Use OR to retrieve results that contain any or all of your search terms. segregation OR discrimination
Using NOT to exclude irrelevant results. Aboriginal kinship NOT clan
Phrase Use quotation marks to search for a phrase "land rights"
Grouping Group terms or equivalent keywords with parentheses to create complex searches (Indigenous OR Aboriginal) AND Australia
Truncation Search for terms with different word endings using an asterisk protect* = protected, protection, protects
Wildcard question mark can be used ti replace a single letter with a word organi?ation = organisation, organization

For your assessment topic potential search strings could include:

  • "land rights" AND (Indigenous OR Abori*) AND Australia
  • (Indigenous OR Aboriginal OR "first nations") AND Mabo
  • "change the date" AND (Indigenous OR Aborig* OR "first nations")

To understand how search operators work 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 Indigenous Australian Studies list has more databases you can search.


Learn how to search efficiently in Primo and Library databases:


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 help you build your writing, referencing and reading skills to be successful at Uni.

Check out their support and resources under Learning Skills in the Student Portal.

Here are some pages to get you started:

To help you with Assessment 2, I have put together a video on how to use the library and get the most out of your searches. 

We'd love your feedback!

Complete our 2 min survey to let us know what you think of this guide.

Keen for more?

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