Exams Study

Five tips on how to research references for assignments

Now we are here again. We’ve reached the end of the semester!

I believe most of you have already submitted all assignments of your enrolled units. Now let us do a bit of a review of our past few weeks and ask ourselves, does searching for useful references take you too much time while doing your assignments?

If your answer is yes (definitely for me), I have some useful tips to help you research more effectively.

1. Read the criteria carefully.

I believe it is common for us to spend hours searching the literature for just one sub-point. However, such a searching process can be time-consuming, and the results may not be satisfying. From my experience, this is a sign that it is time to go back and reread the criteria.

It is easy to skip the key scoring point if you just read the criteria a few times. To ensure that this situation will not happen to your own writing, keep checking the criteria regularly while writing your article.

2. Use Google Scholar

Here, I mean the ‘synthetic’ use of Google Scholar and the school digital library. I believe that most people think that Google Scholar is the best scholar searching site in the world. However, articles that show up in Google Scholar are not guaranteed a hundred per cent ‘peer reviewed’.

To ensure that each of your chosen articles is peer-reviewed, you need to search the articles again on the school digital library. If the searching results indicate that the articles are peer-reviewed,  you can use the article.




3. Seek help from the school librarians

When I was studying for my bachelor degree, none of my lecturers and tutors had told me that our school librarians can help us finding suitable sources, check our academic writing styles, and teach us the correct form of academic writing. You can also attend academic writing workshops and referencing the research drop-in section that is very useful. Usually, there are four academic writing workshops launched in a teaching period. You can find the workshops and register online through  ‘Unihub’. In terms of the drop-in section, you can find it under ‘study’ in HiQ.

Here is the link to the library help:



4. Keywords instead of full sentences

For me, searching using keywords is always better than typing a full sentence. For example, ‘who develop the term multilingualism and where it can be applied to’ can be integrated into ‘the origin of multilingualism’ and ‘the practice of multilingualism.’  A short keyword can lead to a precise and correct result, but a long sentence can’t.


How these tips have helped me with my study?

I got the above tips from my lecturers during tutorials and class discussion. I’m still to find out if these tips have significantly improved my studies and grades, but at least it’s worth testing them. From my perspective, the final grades of this semester are the best indicators of how useful those tips are. However, some of them have made my study less stressful. For example, using keywords instead of full sentences has shortened the time I spent searching articles for reference. Moreover, the school librarian has helped me to check whether the chosen articles are suitable for the topic I have chosen in my assignments.

While waiting for the release of my final grades, I want to share these tips with you. I hope these tips can help you succeed in your study!



Hi, my name is William and I come from Guangzhou China. I love traveling, doing sports, and meeting people from different cultural backgrounds. I'm also a bit of an adventurer, I like to experience new things, as well as writing and reading. I decided to go to Australia to fulfill my dream of becoming independent and learning something new. Currently, I'm studying for a Master of Education something that I really enjoy. I'm a hardworking and motivated person who wants to share my experience of studying and living in Brisbane and hopefully inspire others to study overseas.

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