Information research skills: getting started: Find resources

Search Strategy

[Megnut, ‘The Thinker’, CC BY-NC 2.0 ( ), source: flickr (]

Take a few moments to reflect on your question and plan before you start searching.

Think about:

  • What words from your question you can use when searching (e.g. your key concepts)
  • How you can put them together to form your search

Here is an example where we have highlighted the keywords from the topic.

'Discuss how Vietnamese migrants have affected Australian society.'

Search hints - keywords [Image source: UniSA Library]Now you have some keywords try to think about similar words, phrases or even different spellings that you could also use in your searching.
Mind maps can be a great way to brainstorm see the Your Question page of this guide for more information on mind maps.

For more help on defining your topic and connecting your keywords try the Library's How to guide Connect and combine search terms

Watch this short video to learn why keywords are important, how you can identify them, and how they can help you find better information for your assignments.



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Search tools

The Library Catalogue is a great place to start your searching. It searches across our collection and many of the Library's databases to find books, DVDs, journal articles, newspaper articles, papers and more.

Click on and complete the interactive Search the Catalogue tutorial: Learn to Search the Library Catalogue (15 minutes)

Quick tips to get you started:
  • Try a topic search e.g. "social work" by using the 'subject' drop down option
  • Use double quotes for phrases "..." e.g. "global financial crisis"
  • Narrow your search by Format type: Book/Ebook or Journal articles
  • Find scholarly journal articles by selecting Refine Search > Peer Reviewed or Scholarly Publications 
  • Find recent material by narrowing your search by a Date range

Google is a fantastic tool but it can be hard to find quality academic information.  Many of the top hits are commercial sites that Google is paid to advertise.

Google Scholar is better because it searches mainly academic sites and provides links to many full-text documents.  Unfortunately this can lead you to sites which ask you to pay.

Click on and complete the interactive Search Google Scholar tutorial: Learn to Search Google Scholar (10 minutes)

The good news is that there is a link to Google Scholar on the Library home page - this gives you free access to many documents through the Library.

Pile of books [image source UniSA library]


Ebooks can be read online or 'borrowed' to read offline on a PC or mobile device.  Visit the Library's ebook guide for information about finding, accessing, printing and downloading ebooks.

  • Learn what software is needed on your device
  • Look up our FAQs
  • Give us your feedback about ebooks
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