Hi. I'm Heather, your embedded librarian and I've created this guide to help you with your research for JST311. 

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 JST311 Assessment item 2, an essay on the exclusion of evidence in criminal trials and ethical investigation.

Keywords Synonyms or related terms
exclusion of evidence proof, confession, relevance discretion, unfair prejudice, discretion to exclude, probative value...
criminals trial criminal proceeding, justice, prosecution, steps in prosecution, County/District Court, Supreme Court...
police practice police training, police action plan, operational policing...
ethical investigation investigation, interview, interrogation, investigative process, pre-trial...
safeguard regulation, rule, framework, legislation...

Does your task place any limits? These might be "in the last X years" or Australian content.

This assessment asks that you apply the law and relevant policy/principles relating to evidence, citing legislation applicable to your jurisdiction where appropriate.

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 JST311 Assessment item 2 - essay you will need to undertake legal research.

On the second page of this guide, you'll find an introduction to legislation and case law. We also have two additional guides you might find useful:

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 information on Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure that will be 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:

  • exclude AND evidence
  • (investigat* OR interrogat*) AND (ethic* OR “confirmation bias”)
  • (investigat* OR interrogat* OR interview*) AND (police OR detective) AND (ethic* OR “confirmation bias”) AND evidence

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

To understand how search operators work check out:

Proximity searching

A proximity search forces a database to find results where one search term appears within a certain number of words of another search term. The proximity operator varies according to the database. 

Examples from an EBSCOhost database:  

investigation N3 evidence (N=near) This will find results where investigation is within 3 words of evidence in any order

investigation W3 evidence (W=within) This will find results where investigation is within 3 words of evidence in the order in which you entered the search terms


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:

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/s 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?