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Writing Guide: Summary

This guide covers: understanding the essay question; searching databases and organising research; the writing process: critical thinking and note-taking; referencing and citing in text, and using academic language.

Successful Shopping Trip

So let's recap.  You've worked through the steps by identifying keywords, developing a search strategy, finding quality resources. 

Note the Six Steps to Success below.  Don't forget to check out the resources, tips and exercises under referencing (next tab), it is the very important last step in the process.

Six Steps to Success

Step 1

  • Determine key words, synonyms, truncation and phrase searching opportunities.

Step 2

  • Put it all together using boolean operators so you have a workable search statement

Step 3

  • Determine which search tools you will use to find resources. Informit is the best place to start for Australian information.  One Search may also be useful as a starting point to help you refine your search. 

Step 4

  • Read the most relevant article (based on abstract and key words), look at the list of references used in the article and search the references that are most relevant to your topic (One Search and Goolge Scholar can be of most help here)

Step 5

  • Narrow your search further.  Some possibilities are scholarly articles, date ranges, particular cohorts (e.g. secondary school)

Step 6

Search Strategy Recap

You need to identify the main concepts or keywords in your research topic/question to help you define your topic and design your search strategy There may be synonyms (A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close) that you can add to your list of keywords Truncation  and phrase searching  when used correctly  are 2 of the most powerful tools you will use when searching. Look for ways to narrow your search results. You can limit your search to scholarly articles, or maybe you only need Australian information. Other options could me narrowing to a particular cohort like primary school education. Now that you have a search statement you need to use our search tools to find your resources.  Informit is the best database for Australian research, start there.  You can also try One Search to get a feel for the topic.  Scan a few of the article abstracts to see if you are on the right track. . Once you have a set of results check out the abstracts and keywords assigned to the articles.  Are you on the right track?  Do you need to refine your search or redefine the parameters of your search?

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