Hi. I'm Jess, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for HCS406.
Each section in this guide 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.
If you need a refresher on key Library skills, take a look at the SOC101 Research Skills Guide.
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 the assessment task details in your Subject Outline.
Once you have an understanding of your task, you then need to plan how you will search for information. This starts with identifying and brainstorming keywords.
Check out this example brainstorm, using keywords from your second assessment task:
|Keywords||Synonyms or related terms|
|human rights||civil rights, freedoms, natural rights, universal rights|
|social work||social welfare, social practice, social services|
Also consider: does your task place any limits? These might be "in the last X years" or Australian content.
For this task, you also need to include the following in your discussion:
- the three generations of human rights, including the strengths, limitations and implications of Vasak’s framework in understanding human rights
- human rights theories
- anti-oppressive social work theories.
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 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.
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. 'ANZ Newsstream' and 'Factiva' will be useful particularly for the second assessment:
- SocINDEX with Full Text This link opens in a new windowAn EBSCOhost database of journal and other citations, with much available in full-text, covering all aspects of sociology.
- ANZ Newsstream This link opens in a new windowA ProQuest database featuring the full-text of Australian and New Zealand newspapers. Previously called ANZ Newsstand
- Factiva This link opens in a new windowA global news and business information service, with most material available in full-text. It covers science, health, education, the humanities, and other subjects but has a focus on business, including business news, and company and industry research.
The Humanities, Social Work & Human Services databases 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, depending on your chosen area of focus, potential search strings could include:
- "feminist theory" AND "social work" AND "human rights"
- ("social work" OR "social welfare" OR "social services") AND "human rights" AND Australia*
- (refugee* OR "asylum seeker") AND "human rights" AND "social work"
- (wom?n OR female) AND "human rights" AND "social work"
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 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:
We'd love your feedback!
Complete our 2 min survey to let us know what you think of this guide.
Your textbook is available online through the library!
Search skills demonstration
Watch this video for an overview of the library services and how to search for information.
Keen for more?
If you're interested in finding out more, check out the following: