Sports Science and Exercise Physiology: Plan your search


You need to have a broad understanding of your topic to help you search for information and write your assignment. Also, ask yourself the following:

What do you already know about your topic? What do you need to explore further?

Do you need to define any terms or get an overview? Use the course readings, handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries or introductory books.

What types of information do you need (for example: peer reviewed articles, books, reports, protocols, guidelines etc.)?
Does information need to be current?
Do any theories apply to your topic?
Do you need facts and figures? Try a reliable website or a relevant database.

Which parts of your argument need references as supporting evidence?  

What are the main concepts in your topic or research question? These will help you decide which keywords to use when searching.

Quick guides for more help getting started:

If you are required to decide on a research question it is important to pick a topic that interests you if you can.

Focusing your question

It is important to try and focus your question as much as possible. Watch the following videos to help you with this process:

TIP: Even though these videos do not use health topics the same theory applies across all disciplines.

[Watch low quality version of video]


Organise your search plan

The following videos are good starting points for you to build your skills:
Plan before you scan: making sense of complex research questions
This video shows you how to break down a research question with multiple parts.

Breaking down your research question

This video shows your how to identify main concepts in your research question, and form a search strategy [Watch low quality version of video].

Planning how you are going to approach your search is key to searching successfully.

Example question: What career development is required to work in the area of physical education?

Key steps:

  1. Define any terms you are unsure of. Try a introductory book, dictionary, encyclopedia, or handbook.
  2. Identify main concepts in your question. These will form the foundation of your search.
    • Concept 1: career
    • Concept 2: development
    • Concept 3: physical education
  3. Identify any synonyms or similar keywords for each main concept.
    • Concept 1: career, profession, vocation
    • Concept 2: development, growth, progression
    • Concept 3: physical education, physical activity
  4. Consider any:
    • word plurals (career, careers)
    • different word forms (profession or professional)
    • different word spellings (celiac or coeliac)
    • key acronyms (BMI or Body Mass Index)
    • hyphenated words (non-surgical or non surgical)