Skip to Main Content

JCU logoLibrary Guides

InfoSkills: Start: Home

undefinedWelcome to the InfoSkills Toolkit

This is a self-paced series of modules to teach you the basics of searching for information, from working out what search terms to use and how to use them, to evaluating your sources and referencing them in your assignment.

You can work through the modules in order, or jump straight to the part you need.

Defining your topic

Before you can search for information, you need to clearly define what you are searching for. Use keywords as the basis for all research. To find the best keywords you need to unpack your research question and find related concepts and words that will give you relevant results.
Unpacking the Question
UnpackingIn this section, you will learn how to break down your research question and identify the key concepts.
Analysing the Topic
analysingHere, you will learn how to develop your understanding of the topic and generate similar and related concepts and terms.
Gathering Search Terms
gatheringLastly, you will learn how to organise your keywords so you can create effective searches quickly and easily.


Searching for resources

Knowing how to become a savvy searcher will help you to search quicker and smarter.  If you are not sure how to start, this guide will give you tips on basic searching techniques to help you find the most useful information for your assignment. 
Basic Searching Techniques
undefinedHere you will learn how to work with keywords identified from unpacking the question.  Search smarter by using your keywords together with boolean basics, truncation and phrase searching.  Learn how to put it all together.
Beyond the Basics
undefinedThis section will help you to search for relevant subject guides, databases, Google Scholar and how to search for reliable websites.
I need to Find
undefinedThis part of the module covers where to find readings, latest research, multimedia, definitions, statistics plus more.

Evaluating resources

Not everything you find may be appropriate and academically acceptable to use. It's important to use scholarly sources for your assignments. Before including any sources in your assignment, you will need to evaluate them to decide whether they are relevant for your topic and appropriate for use at university.
Core Evaluation Skills
coreIn this section you will learn the what, why and how of evaluating resources including useful checklists.
Evaluating Journals
journalsHere you will learn about why journal articles are important, the different types of journal articles, how to recognize scholarly journals and the peer review process.
Evaluating Books
booksHere you will learn about what books are useful for and how to identify scholarly books.
Evaluating Webpages
webpagesLastly, you will learn about how webpages can be useful, different kinds of webpages, recognizing fake news and using Wikipedia.

Referencing sources

Referencing at university is compulsory. You won't be able to pass an assignment without referencing your sources, and you can lose marks for not following the correct referencing style. Referencing appropriately and correctly is an important academic skill.

Referencing and Plagiarism

undefinedIn this module you will learn what referencing is, why you need to do it and what you have to reference. We will then look at plagiarism, what it is, its possible consequences and how to avoid it.

Referencing Basics

undefinedThis section looks at in-text citations and what goes in a reference list entry, as well as quoting, summarising and paraphrasing. At the end there are some interactive tutorials to help you consolidate what you have learned.

What Lecturers Want

undefinedTowards the end we will think about what your lecturer expects from your referencing followed by some FAQs

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country

Creative Commons Licence
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.