Finding academic literature for your report
This guide will help you find academic literature to support your argument in your report.
Remember to always read your course outline or website for more assessment details, including the assignment instructions and marking criteria/feedback sheet.
For your report, you need to find credible academic sources, such as peer reviewed journal articles. Sometimes peer reviewed articles may be called academic, scholarly or refereed articles.
Watch this short video to understand what makes something scholarly:
If you need help evaluating any reports you find, watch:
Alternatively, look at this guide:
Planning your search will give you the best chance of finding relevant results.
Watch or read the following to learn how to plan a search:
There are a few different ways to plan your search. Select the headings below to read more about different approaches.
You can use a table to start exploring words to use in your search.
Start a column for each of your main concepts. Then for each main concept, think of synonyms or alternative words you could use when searching. This is important as not everyone will express ideas in the same way.
See below for an example table.
|chronic disease||dietary habits||Australia|
|chronic conditions, chronic illness||diet, diets, dietary, dietary guidelines||Australian|
|diabetes, diabetic||nutrition, nutritional|
|heart disease, cardiovascular disease, CVD||eat, eating|
|obese, obesity, BMI 30+, body mass index 30+||food, fruit, vegetables, junk food|
|....[other chronic diseases]...|
Tip: You need to choose a chronic disease. Column 1 of the table has examples.
You can use a mind map to start exploring words to use in your search.
For each section of your mind map write down a main concept. Then for each main concept, think of synonyms or alternative words you could use when searching. This is important as not everyone will express ideas in the same way.
See below for an example mind map.
Help with mind mapping:• Mapping your question (3:05)
Some mind mapping tools:• Text 2 Mind Map
Read the report's aims and description and then follow these steps:
Watch the Choosing where to search video to learn where to search for resources.
|Getting started||Key Library databases||Key websites|
|Library Catalogue||Emcare (via Ovid)|
More databases are available under Find evidence on this guide.
Select the Multi-Field Search option.
Start by putting each different concept on a new line. Notice your different concepts are connected with AND.
Try broadening your search by adding synonyms or alternative words to each line. Connect these with OR.
If you need to look for a particular age group, gender (male or men / female or women) or geographic location (Australia) consider adding this to your search.
Alternatively explore what limits are available to you to focus your search:
You can apply these search skills when searching in other Library databases, such as Scopus.
Google Scholar can be useful for finding scholarly information including articles. Access Google Scholar from the Library's homepage to see full text content.
Start by putting a few different concepts into the search box:
You can add another concept if you need to, which will narrow your search:
If you are having trouble finding relevant articles, change your search concepts.
Watch the videos below for more help: