Research and reading

Effective (re)searching

Assignments are designed to allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the concepts and theories that are the content of your unit. They should also assist in your development as researchers, that is, "seekers and users of information".

The following video will help you better understand how to evaluate credible, reliable sources for academic purposes. What are credible, reliable sources?

Being a seeker of information means more than web surfing. It means employing a structured, systematic process that can be summarised in 7 steps.

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A useful tool for this is a mind map. This will help you to clarify and understand the key concepts of the topic. Don’t forget to include any readings or lecture/tutorial content that fit this topic.

Looking for key information involves looking in a given paragraph or passage of words for the key words that are relevant for your topic. It is a process that can be used in conjunction with scanning.

Key words and ideas are often found in the opening paragraphs of a chapter or subsection of a chapter. Pay particular attention to the opening sentence and the opening paragraph.

Look for any hints given by the author. These might include:

  • underlining
  • bolding
  • italics
  • subheadings
  • section breaks

Once you have established what the key information is, you will need to read it in detail.

Reading in detail helps you to:

  • gain a full understanding of material
  • analyse and evaluate what you have read
  • follow instructions or directions
  • understand difficult terms or ideas

You need to get a broader understanding of the task by testing your key words in a Boolean search. Look for information in:

  • Books
  • Journals (databases)
  • Online dictionaries and encyclopaedias

Have you found too much information? Have you found too little information? Review your research results and decide if you need to narrow or widen your search terms. It might be necessary to repeat steps 2 and 3.

The following video will help you better understand how to evaluate credible, reliable sources for academic purposes.

What are credible, reliable sources?

  • Researching skills (CDU Library)
    This workshop on this site explains periodicals (journals) databases, Boolean search strategies and ways of reviewing your search.

When you find information, it won’t all be suitable. Use skimming and scanning techniques to decide which items you will use and which you will discard.

Active readers make notes. Your notes should include:

  • title (book/ chapter, article/ journal, website)
  • author(s)/editors
  • date published

Always note page numbers against individual notes. This will save you a lot of time when you are actually writing your paper.

Learn how to transform a journal reference to an APA 6th referencing style.

Activity 1: APA 6th - from journal to referencing

Activity 2: APA 6th - order of elements

Visit the Note Making section for more advice.

If you need help, ask:

 

For further information contact ALLSP on (08) 89467459
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