Hi. I'm Heather, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for JST301

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.

Let's take a look at your assessment task for JST301 Assessment item 3, a 2000-2500 word essay on Cohen & Felson's (1979) Routine Activity Theory (1938) in relation to a specific crime in your local area. 

Keywords Synonyms or related terms
crime steal from dwelling, steal from motor vehicle, break and enter, burglary...
routine activity theory criminological theory, Cohen & Felson, offender, target, capable guardian, direct-contact predatory crime...
crime prevention strategy police practice, crime profile, action plan...

For this assessment task you must look at a specific crime in your local area.

You need at least five academic references in your assignment. You must also reference statistics, personal conversations, information about your area and any other information you obtain from another source.

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 database:

The Law & Justice Studies and Emergency Management, Policing & Public Safety database lists have more databases you can search.

Learn how to search efficiently in Primo and Library databases:

Crime statistics & socio-economic data

For JST301 Assessment items 2 and 3 you will need to obtain crime statistics and socio-economic data.

You'll find some excellent resources in the following Library Guides:

Or you can explore the links in the next tab: Crime statistics and socio-economic data.

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:

  • "routine activit* theory" AND ("New South Wales" OR NSW)
  • “crime prevention strategy” AND (“break and enter” OR break-in OR burglary OR housebreak)
  • "crime prevention" AND "police practice" AND "hot spot"

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:

Your textbook

Good news!

Your textbook is available online through the library!

However access to your textbook is limited. Follow the best practice in the video below to ensure you have access to what you need without disadvantaging other students in your subject.

Visit the companion website for your textbook to access features such as flashcards, a glossary, review questions and multiple choice quizzes for each chapter!

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.

Using AI

Have you been asked to use Generative AI Tools (GAITs) in your assessment? Or are you thinking of using GAITs for research and study? 

Make sure you are aware of the risks associated with using GAITs:

  • Academic integrity
  • Plagiarism
  • Inaccurate content
  • Intellectual property
  • Privacy concerns

For more information see:

Keen for more?