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Research tips

This page goes over the basics of research. For a more in-depth look at searching for a literature review, check out the Searching the literature library research guide.


Rather than pasting your whole assignment question into a search box, you can retrieve much better results by:

  • reading your question/briefing carefully to identify key terms and concepts
  • think of synonyms or similar phrases that describe the same thing
  • think of what evidence or research you are looking for

These actions may give you ideas of other terms to add to your search, and also where to search.


In academic search engines like Library Search, ProQuest or EBSCO you can refine your results by options such as:

  • content type, e.g. books, peer-reviewed journal articles or newspaper articles
  • date range
  • topic/subject


Once you find a resource, how do you know if it is useful for the research you are conducting? You could read/watch/listen to it, but you could save time by first testing the resource against the CRAP test. The CRAP test is a set of 4 criteria you can quickly measure a resource against to see whether it is worth engaging with further.


Criteria Questions to ask

CurrencyLetter C with calendar

Is this the most up to date resource you can find? Is it new enough for the purposes of your topic?
RelevanceLetter R with target Is the material relevant to your topic and your arguments?
AuthorityLetter A with expert advice on a wooden block Who is the author? Are they a credible source? Are they qualified to talk about this subject? Are arguments backed up with evidence (such as references or citations)?
PurposeLetter P with a road sign What is the purpose of the resource? E.g. Is it designed to sell, entertain, vent, educate or present research?




It is important to acknowledge the work of others in your assignments or research. You do this by citing (or referencing).

Citing shows the reader the quality of resources you used to build and support your arguments. It provides a way for the reader to locate the resources you referred to. Citing also clearly shows the reader how and where you’ve drawn on other people’s words, ideas and research.

Clearly citing your resources helps avoid plagiarism.

There are tools to simplify citing and referencing.

  1. In academic databases like Library Search, ProQuest or Google Scholar, look for the quotation marks in the resource's record to generate an automatic citation or reference in a style such as APA. Generally the more academic or scholarly your resource is, the easier it will be to cite.
  2. Use reference management software such as RefWorks to help with your citations.

And finally, the library produces guides on each of the Bond supported styles. These guides go through the rules for things like in-text citations and quotations, how to cite different types of resources in your reference list or bibliography, and how to format your reference list/bibliography.


If you find a good resource, it's a good idea to keep it somewhere so that you can refer to it again if needed. If you use a reference management tool such as Mendeley or RefWorks, not only can you save the citation, but you can add a PDF document of an article, or a web link directly to the resource. You can also save resources in Library Search by using the pin button. 'Pinning' a resource adds it to your 'My Collection', so that you can go back and access the resource if required. Particularly useful for last minute reference quote checking!

Humanities research