Top Ten Assignment Tips

Find your subject readings

  • Readings is JCU’s central repository of online readings and past exam papers. Use it to find readings for your courses and tutorials. Find your Readings lists in your LearnJCU subject site, or search on the Library home page.

    • Search with author and title keywords, or by subject code for a complete list of Readings

Choose your assignment topics with care

  • Start your assignment early (give yourself time to search and to read what you find - you may need to request resources from another campus)

  • If possible, select a topic that interests you

  • Check out textbooks and reference works (including Credo ) to get an initial understanding of the topic and its scope

  • Do a quick search to make sure there is enough information available

  • If possible, consider changing your topic if your first choice leads to a dead end

  • You will be marked on how well you answer the question not just your discussion of the topic

  • Wikipedia can help with providing basic ideas and concepts as well as keywords for searching, but remember that it shouldn’t be something you are using for a reference

Develop a great search strategy

  • Learn about unknown or unfamiliar terms and concepts using reference materials, e.g. dictionaries or encyclopaedias, for an overview of the topic. The Credo database contains a range of useful reference sources. Your textbooks can also be a useful starting point

  • Identify keywords that best describe the subject content of your topic. Look for synonyms or alternative terms for each concept and keyword

  • The task words are what the question is asking for you to do. Discussing, comparing, and contrasting are different actions you may come across - you can't search for these, you just have to do them

  • Limiters are restrictions you should place on your search such as only finding material from the last ten years

  • Combine your search keywords and make sure to use other search strategies like phrase searching (putting “quote marks” around your words to look for an exact phrase) when necessary

Use One Search

  • One Search allows you to search online and offline material like electronic and print journals, books and eBooks, theses, newspaper articles, and more (Accessible on- and off-campus 24 x 7)

  • Make use of the "Refine your search" options

Check out your subject Libguide

  • Library Guides are excellent sources of information for using the best databases, journals and websites in each subject area

Use the Internet to broaden your search

  • Choose reputable internet sites - make sure you know how to recognise authorative sources.

  • Google is useful for finding government and educational websites. Make sure to look for a .gov or .edu web address

  • Use Google Scholar to search for peer reviewed journal articles available on the internet and at JCU (make sure to use our databases link to get to it off-campus)

  • Google isn't the only search engine. Consider using another search engine (like Bing or DuckDuckGo) to find a different range of results

Evaluate what you find

  • Evaluate your results and refine your search. Ask yourself: Are you getting the results you expected? Are you getting too many or too few results? Are you using the right database?

  • Apply limits to your search if necessary: Date ranges; Full text; Type of publication; Language

  • Always evaluate websites for accuracy, authority and currency, eg Wikipedia – is it accurate?

  • Use books for established research

  • Use scholarly journal articles for current research

  • Choose reputable Internet sites

  • Check out the Evaluating Sources LibGuide for guidance

Reference your assignment correctly

  • You will need to reference all the information sources you have found so copy the details for references as you use them. Paper and electronic sources are referenced differently. Two of the most popular reference styles are APA and Harvard, but some disciplines use others. Check with your lecturer to find out which style is required by your subject

  • Learn more on the Referencing Guide

Be in charge of your own learning

Contact your librarian

  • Your Liaison Librarian can assist with your research in specific subject areas

  • Contact InfoHelp for general library assistance