Study smarter not harder with Study Smart

When it comes to study skills, the library is here to help!

Our brand spankin’ new Study Tips webpage will help you start the year on the right foot and prepare for study in 2019 by getting on top of:

Once you delve into your study, our online Study Smart tutorial covers everything you’ll need to know to ace the trimester! There’s info on:

Need more help? You’ll also find helpful links to other online training and support, such as:

  • Microsoft Virtual Academy – free online training in the various versions of Microsoft Office. Step-by-step instructions and videos are available in Word, Excel and other Microsoft Office products that allow you to improve your digital skills.
  • Smarthinking – a free 24/7 online tutoring service available to all Griffith students seeking advice on improving their writing skills. Students can also submit their assignment draft for review and receive a response in 24 hours.

How to boost your postgrad research skills


A little extra help goes a long way in the world of researching, more specifically higher degree research, and we want your work to have impact!

The Research and Publishing webpage covers all your researching needs and assists with getting started, managing your research and of course, getting published.

The webpage covers topics such as:

Free workshops on topics like publishing during your PhD, EndNote, developing your academic argument, editing your writing, managing your research data and many more.

  • Postgraduate Research Information Skills Modules designed to guide you through every stage of your research journey.
  • Strategic publishing guidelines that show you where to get published, how to get published and how to reach the widest audience.
  • How to measure your academic impact using citation performance indicators and altmetrics.
  • Best practice data guidelines.
  • Plus much more.

Are you a Higher Degree Research student and need assisting with a specific research need? You can book a free consultation with a specialist Librarian for support. Just scroll on down to ‘Consultations with a Specialist’ on the Research and Publishing webpage.

Did you know tomorrow is National Bird Day?


Some people love them; have them as pets; go bird-watching for fun. Other people hate them; squeal as birds swoop towards them. Then, some people are just plain indifferent.

Whatever your feelings are towards birds, did you know that tomorrow, January 5, is National Bird Day?

There’s actually a lot to learn about birds. In fact, here at Griffith University, we’ve done a bunch of research on birds.

Want to learn about the implications of feeding birds, birds and tourism or birds in Indigenous Australian rock art? Take a look at:

That’s just some of the areas of research focus. Keen to find out more about birds this National Bird Day? Check out our research on birds on Griffith Research Online.

It’s ‘International Day of People with Disability’ today

Did you know that there are around one billion people around the world who live with a disability?

International Day of People with Disability is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities.

On this day, we also celebrate the achievements of people living with disabilities. You can read, listen and watch some inspirational stories here.

You can also check out the remarkable research Griffith University is doing on disabilities.

Browse all our research on disabilities via Griffith Research Online (GRO), or take a look at some of the interesting articles we’ve included below:

How to get started on your essays


Is the assignment’s title the only thing that’s been written on your word doc for hours? Well, we can help you fix this. Essay structure and layout is one of the most crucial things to help get you started. Trust us, squinting at your screen casting some form of a spell unfortunately isn’t going to make the words appear. The only magic you will need is that essay structure; introduction, body and conclusion.


You wouldn’t start a movie or TV show halfway through, would you? Just like the opening of a film, the introduction of an essay sets the scene. Roughly 10-15% of the essay length, the intro acts as a roadmap to your reader. It helps them to understand where you’re going in your assignment, how you will get there and what they will see along the way. So, what should you include?

  • Introduce the topic – why is this topic interesting from the perspective of the discipline/field?
  • Indicate the focus or your essay.
  • Signpost the structure of your essay.
  • Indicate your thesis statement (this is your main line of argument, or your position on the topic).


The body is basically the whole movie; this is where all the good stuff happens, where the explanations and #spoilers unfold! Different movie scenes? Different paragraph in the essay! Roughly 80% of the essay length, the body paragraphs will make different points to support your essay argument. It consists of paragraphs structured to reflect your critical thinking about the question and the chosen order for presenting your argument.

Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, a body, a concluding sentence and be around 150 – 200 words each:

  • Topic sentence to introduce the main idea of the paragraph
  • Supporting sentences, which include evidence, arguments, and examples.
  • Concluding/linking sentence.


The finale! This is what you’ve been waiting for folks. You know on the last episode of The Bachelor how they recap everything you’ve already seen throughout the series to summarise everything (slow-mo beach running and all)? Yep, you guessed it, that’s a conclusion. The conclusion is a summary of all the main points discussed in the assignment. It’s also where recommendations may be made, your argument is evaluated, or future patterns of change are forecasted. Restate your argument or position, so the reader is clear what you were stating.

Roughly 5-10% of the essay length, it’s important that your conclusion should:

  • contain no new ideas or information
  • briefly list your key points
  • relate key points directly back to the question or argument.

For more information, have a look at our writing your assignment webpage.

Are you assignment ready?


You ever finally build up the motivation to start the assignment that you’ve been putting off for what feels like 3 years? We know the ‘if it’s not the due date, it’s not the do date’ motto all too well. That feeling of last-minute panic, more stressful than the Bachelor finale; palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Well, adhering to that motto never ends well, does it? Not a good time, not a good feeling and definitely not a good result. So, we’re here to offer you 4 simple preparation tactics to help you tackle your assignments, and tackle them on time!


1. Get the bigger picture

It’s really important that you understand exactly how your assignment fits in with the course learning outcomes and aims.

Head to the course profile in myGriffith to find out what they are and how they relate to your assignment.

Understanding the overall connection will help you find the specific focus of the assignment.


2. Gather all the assignment information

The course profile in myGriffith should provide all necessary assignment details. Identify when the assignment is due, the percentage of your final grade it’s worth, the word limit and the correct format.

You will be asked to submit assignments in different formats; essay, literature reviews, reports or perhaps oral presentations. The Writing your Assignment module introduces you to the different formats and provides an outline of what they could include.

Be sure to check the marking criteria. It will tell you how many marks each section is worth and how your work will be assessed. If you understand the marking criteria, you can write an assignment that ticks all the boxes for your course.


3. Decipher the assignment task

You need to identify directive, topic and limiting words in the assignment question. These important words help you figure out how to research and write the assignment.

  • Directive words – The assignment task will contain directive words such as ‘examine’, ‘analyse’ or ‘compare’. Directive words tell you how to approach the assignment. Not sure what the directive word is asking you to do? Look it up in a dictionary or consult this handy Definition of Directive Words from California Polytechnic State University.
  • Topic words – Topic words identify the major concepts in your task. These will come in handy when you are looking for resources and help you stay focused on your topic.
  • Limiting words – Limiting words help narrow the scope of your assignment. They set boundaries for you and are often dates, locations or populations.


4. Ask a lot of questions

Now that you understand what you are being asked to do, it’s time to break down the task into mini questions.  Having a series of questions to answer will help you focus your research and writing. It also helps you develop a logical response to the topic.

The assignment task itself may contain mini questions. It may have a primary question and a number of secondary questions. The answer to the primary question is your overall argument.

The secondary questions could be descriptive or analytical. A descriptive question asks for background information or context to the primary question. Whereas, an analytical question prompts you to dig deeper into the assignment topic.



In addition to these steps, course reading lists, the library catalogue, Google Scholar and Library Guide’s Databases are handy platforms to check out once you’re ready to start researching.


So…let’s get started!

9 online search tips to help you with your researching

About to start researching for an assignment? Of course, you want this process to be as efficient as possible, right? Well, we’re here to help!

Follow the handy tips below to ensure you’re searching online information effectively. Some of them will be massive timesavers!

1. Identify keywords

Keywords are key! Analyse your assignment question to develop a list of keywords to use in online search tools.

2. Brainstorm more keywords

Be sure to use synonyms of your keywords. Consult a thesaurus; there are plenty of free versions online. Experts probably discuss your topic using a variety of terms, and you’ll want to catch all of this research.

3. Beware of words with different spelling

Watch out for words with alternative spelling. Remember, there are differences between British English and American English spelling, such as colour and color. Some search tools will automatically find both spellings, but you may need to include both versions.

4. Limit your search

Most search tools let you limit your results in a range of ways. Use these tools to focus your results on the content you need. For example, you may not need peer-reviewed journal articles, or news articles from the past three months. Limit your search to what you need.

5. Keep keywords together

Sometimes you need to use keywords together. If the words aren’t in the correct order, the results won’t be relevant; for example, higher education. Most search tools will find your phrase in the correct order if you enclose the words in quotation marks; for example “higher education”. This works best for two or three words.

6. Find multiple words in one go

Some search tools will only provide results for the exact keywords you use. For example, if you search for teen, you will only find results that contain teen. However, you may also like results for teen, teens, teenager and teenaged. Try truncation to avoid typing in all of these words. You can use a symbol, usually the asterisk (*), to tell the search tool to find any endings of your keyword. For example, you can search for teen* and find results for all those other words in one go.

7. Use wildcards

A wildcard is a symbol you can use in the middle of a word to catch any alternate spelling options for that word. The wildcard symbol varies between search tools, but is frequently a question mark (?) or an asterisk (*). For example, if you are searching for the keyword behaviour, and know there is an alternative spelling option, you can use the wildcard symbol to find both spelling options at once. For example, behavio?r.

8. Combine keywords and synonyms

We’ve already stressed the importance of keywords and synonyms. But you’ll need to think about how you are going to use all these words when you search an online tool, such as the library catalogue or databases. That’s where Boolean operators come in. Boolean operators are the terms and, or and not. They are used to join your keywords together to form a search strategy. Check out this YouTube video from Penfield Library to get an idea of how to use Boolean operators in your search.

9. Dig into references

Don’t forget to check reference lists of the resources you find. They may list other helpful sources of information you can use.

– Extract from Study Smart –