Hi. I'm Heather, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for JST110. 

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.

If you would like an introduction to our Library website and services check out:

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 JST110 assessment item 3, a 700-word Ministerial Briefing on the issue of pill testing.

Keywords Synonyms or related terms
pill testing drug toxicity, toxicology, drug checking, detection, DART-MS, trace residue sampling
harm minimisation strategy
mitigation, benefits, harm reduction, risk reduction, prevention, consumer education, awareness…
law reform legislation, change, advocacy, recommendations, legislative reform…

You need at least six different, high quality, academic or government sources in your paper and these must be referenced.

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 lists have more databases you can search.

Learn how to search efficiently in Primo and Library databases:

Legal Research

For JST110 assessment item 3 - Ministerial Briefing, you may need to undertake legal research. 

Our Legal research for non-law students guide will step you through the process of:

Our comprehensive Law Library Guide contains collections, search tools, suggested resources and assistance to help you with advanced research and studies in this field. It includes the links to Law Reform and Legal Commentary that you might find useful in this Assessment.

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:

  • "pill testing" AND Australia* AND (festivals OR events)
  • law reform AND “pill testing”
  • "Pill testing" AND policy AND (NSW OR new south wales)

Remember: you will need to try a range of searches. Don't stop after just one.

To understand how search operators work check out:

Field searching and limiters

Most databases will allow you to specify which field you want to search. Common fields include:

  • title
  • author
  • subject
  • material type
  • date

Once you've searched, you can also limit your results by some of these fields. This is extremely useful if you want articles published within a certain date range, or for them to be peer-reviewed. Look for these in the menus beside your search results. 


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.

Google search tips

Use the following symbols and/or words in your Google searches, to retrieve more relevant results:

 Search Tip Example
Use a minus to exclude words (a NOT search) student -postgraduate
Use the pipe symbol in place of OR undergraduate|postgraduate
Use a colon to search an individual site or type of domain student site:gov.au
Find a page that links to another page link:csu.edu.au
Use an * as a wildcard to replace a word in a phrase “Charles * University”
Search a number range to only retrieve results from particular years 2010...2017
Retrieve a definition of a word define:student

Limit your search to retrieving only documents in a particular format

Search news archives going back to the mid 1880's via Google news archive search Filter search to "past year" or less to get the most recent news

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.

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.

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:

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?