Where to start researching for your assignment

It’s about that time of trimester where you’re probably getting started (or have already started) on researching for your assignments. It may seem like a monumental task. Maybe the thought of starting is overwhelming you? We mean, where do you even start? (hint: it’s not Facebook. Close that tab.)

Master procrastinators, it’s time to listen up (and get started)! Below are some key places you can start your research:

1. Course Readings

Course readings are a great place to start when doing research for assignments. You can find your course Reading List in Learning@Griffith, in the Readings section of your course site. Reading Lists provide you with links to online resources (eBooks, journal articles, web pages), or to the Library catalogue, so you can find print resources.

2. Library catalogue

The Library catalogue is a great place to search for resources. From books, journal articles and videos to conference proceedings, newspaper articles and online documents, the Library catalogue has it all, and more!

It lets you search for a huge number of resources in one place – the search box on the library home page.

3. Databases

To find specialised information, you will need to use online search tools, like the Library databases.

You can search databases to find specialised resources, such as:

The library also has databases for different disciplines. So if you require information on a business, law, education, health, science or social science topic, there is a database for you.

Not sure which database to search for your discipline? Check out our handy library guides.

4. Google Scholar

Now, you’ve probably used Google to search for information before. Whether it was for academic, work or recreational purposes, we all know how helpful the search engine can be.

But did you know Google has an academic search engine? Google Scholar is a search engine which searches a wide variety of sources including academic online journals, conference papers, dissertations, technical reports and books.

You can even use Google Scholar to find academic resources at Griffith University. It’s as simple as changing a setting. Head to the About Google Scholar webpage to find out how.

Get a head start with our Earlybird workshops

Quick quiz:

  • Are you starting uni this trimester?
  • Did you find last trimester’s study a challenge?
  • Do you want to further develop your learning skills?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, our Earlybird workshops are perfect for you!

Prior to Trimester 1, 2018, we are offering the following Earlybird workshops free to Griffith students:

Strategies for study at university

Get an overview of university culture and expectations, and learn some helpful strategies for managing your time and studying effectively. Beginning the trimester with a head start on study and time management will make a world of difference, we promise!

Getting started on an ePortfolio with PebblePad

Learn about Griffith’s personal learning environment – PebblePad.

Researching and Referencing for your assignments

Being able to research and reference is a kinda crucial part of uni. If this seems daunting, come along to this workshop. You’ll gain awareness of the wide range of information resources available at Griffith and learn to identify the principles of referencing and the process of applying them within academic work.

Check out the times, dates, and locations, come along to a workshop, and start trimester one prepared for success!

Where to store your research data

Thankfully it’s not on a floppy disk!

If you’re a research student, we’re sure you know oh-too-well the struggles of managing and storing your immense amounts of data.

And, while we’re super grateful it’s 2018, and we don’t have to store data on floppy disks like in 1998, or on physical paper like in 1968, it’s still an enormous task to manage.

Enter: Griffith’s Research Storage Service. It offers various digital storage services based on specific storage needs to all researchers and research students affiliated with the university.

The three storage services available include Research Space, Research Drive, and Research Vault. There’s even a nifty little questionnaire you can take, which tells you which service is best for you.

We tested it out, and we can tell you with certainty that it takes under one minute, and that our fictitious data is best suited to Research Space.

The service can help you store, share and synchronise the digital data generated during your research project.

Project data is stored securely on Griffith servers and you’ll get unlimited storage, can access the service anytime and anywhere, as well as share files easily with collaborators at Griffith, in Australia and overseas.

For more information on the various services, check out the FAQs for Research Drive, Research Space and Research Vault.

Post-grad? Get your research skills on point!

Calling all post-grad researchers!

Now’s the perfect time to laze at the beach brush up on your research skills!

Have you taken a look at our Postgrad Research Information Skills Modules?

Designed to help you navigate your way through the research cycle, the modules have been grouped into three sections: Discover, Manage and Publish.

The modules provide you with strategies, resources and interactive learning activities to enable you to successfully complete your project.

Discover how to develop your research question, find the literature you need, and use the literature.

Manage your organisation or citations and references, ensure you maintain research integrity, manage your research data effectively, and learn about author profiles.

Then–ahhh, the culmination of all your hard work–Publish. Learn how to select a journal, submit a manuscript, and navigate the peer review, revising and editing processes. Explore collaboration options and how to use social media to expand your readership and altmetric score. Learn about scholarly impact of your publication. Then–go at it again! Find resources to help with getting funding for future research!

Publishing your research: What you need to know

Are you a research student? Have you taken this end of year holiday as a wonderful opportunity to get ahead on your research and publishing?

Publishing is an enormous task, as well as an enormously important aspect of your research career, and can certainly seem daunting sometimes.

There are a multitude of facets to consider. Don’t get overwhelmed though! Break them down into bite-sized pieces and tackle them!

We have guides to walk you through every step, from planning to publishing, and even researcher profile management.



Profile management

Still need more help? Book a consultation with your discipline librarian (under the Consultations with a specialist heading) to discuss your research and publishing strategies.

Save time researching using our subject guides

Don’t pull your hair out like Kurt!

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when starting to research for a topic? Kinda like you’re getting more results than annoying notifications from that group chat you’re totally over.

I mean, you search for Nirvana in terms of their influence on the early ‘90s grunge scene, but instead you get heaps of useless results on liberation from rebirth?? [insert confused emoji here]

Wouldn’t it be super convenient if you could just go to one webpage that listed all the databases and resources you needed for your study area. So you’re not searching for music history and getting Buddhist philosophy?

Well, you totally can!

Our discipline librarians have worked hard to compile all the databases and key information resources you’ll need for your subject area into one centralised area. Just go to the Borrowing and Resources library page, and select your subject area under Library guides.

You can select a broad area, such as Health, to see all relevant databases. Or you can further narrow your selection to a specific discipline area, such as Nursing and Midwifery for more detailed information.

Using the resources in these subject guides can help ensure you’re finding information relevant to your specific subject area.

For further help with researching, check out our Study Smart tutorial.

Nine tips to help you with researching

Do you want to be able to search efficiently and effectively? Below are nine tips and tricks to help you achieve better search results.

1. Analyse your assignment question
Keywords are key! You’ll need to analyse your assignment question to develop a list of keywords you can use in online search tools.

2. Brainstorm more keywords
Make sure you are using synonyms of your keywords. Consult a thesaurus; there are plenty of free versions online. Your topic is probably discussed by experts using a variety of terms and you’ll want to catch all of this research.

3. Watch out for words with different spelling options
You need to be aware of the words you are using which could have an alternative spelling. Remember, there are differences between British English and American English spelling i.e. colour and color. Some search tools will automatically find both spellings, but some you need to include both versions (see #7 for further tips).

4. Know your limits
Most search tools let you limit your results in a range of ways. Use these tools to focus your results to only the content you need.

5. Keep keywords together
Sometimes you really need your keywords to stick together. If the words aren’t in the correct order, then the results aren’t relevant. For example, higher education. Most search tools will find your phrase in the correct order if you enclose the words in quotation marks e.g. “higher education”.

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, it will only find results that contain teen. That’s fine, if that’s what you wanted. But chances are you would like results for teen, teens, teenager, and teenaged. If you use truncation, you don’t need to type in all of these words. Just use a symbol (usually the asterisk *) to tell the online search tool to find any endings to your keyword. For example, you can search for teen* and find results for all of them 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 may search for behavio?r

8. Combine keywords with synonyms
Use Boolean operators to combine keywords and synonyms. Boolean operators are the terms AND, OR and NOT. 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 the reference lists of the resources you find. They may list other helpful sources of information that you can use.