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AHT101 Research Skills Guide: Find

Introduction to search tools

Although there are various search tools available to you, some are better than others at finding scholarly information for your assignments. Over the next few pages, we'll introduce you to three that we think you will find most useful.

When you are looking for resources, it is often worth trying your keywords in each of these search tools – it doesn't take long and can give you some great results.

Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are tools that are accessible by anyone, they are useful when searching for general information such as definitions and background information and for locating Government and Organisation websites.

However for the purpose of finding information for your assignment we consider Primo Search and the Journal Databases as better and best as they are provided by the CSU Library for the use of CSU students and staff only, enabling access to subscribed content, CSU Library resources and discipline specific information from for example journal articles, that are not freely available via internet search engines.

Commonly used sources

There are many different types of resources which might offer information on the topic you are researching, the sources of information you use for your assignment will depend upon the question you need to address. You also need to consider whether the source is scholarly or authoritative enough for an academic assignment. (If in doubt, check with your lecturer.) 

Source type*: Use this source to:
  • Get an overview, introduction, and/or background on a topic
  • Get in-depth information about a broad topic
  • Historical context
Journal article   
  • Access the latest research and ideas on your topic
  • Learn about varied perspectives on a topic
  • Examine a topic in very specific detail
  • Get the latest current affairs and business information
  • Investigate public attitudes to topics and issues
  • Locate reports and documents from government, academic, or professional organisations
  • Find background or introductory information
  • Familiarise yourself with the topic

Reference material

(dictionaries, encyclopaedias)

  • Find factual and statistical information on a topic
  • Get an overview of a subject
  • Find definitions
  • Use subject specific resources to decipher the "jargon" of your topic

*Source type includes both hard copy and online versions of the source (for example, books includes both hard copy books and ebooks

The following pages will introduce you to three common search tools to help you find resources for your assignments.

Sources of Information

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