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Library Guides

Research skills tutorial

Tips and Tricks

Good work, you have completed this online tutorial.  Now for some bonus tips and tricks...

Time savers

  • Use a thesaurus to find alternative words
  • Combine keywords in different ways using a variety of search strategies
  • Read the Abstract first!
  • Save the citation when you find each source
  • Find citation information in DISCOVER, databases and the library catalogue
  • Use QR codes (on the library shelves) to find eBooks


Help is available

  • How to Guides show you how to search
  • Subject Guides lead you to sources for your subject
  • Computer Buddies (in the Library) help you format your documents
  • shows you how to use software and apps
    (Organisation Login - - then USC network username and password)
  • Attend a Drop-in for assignment help

Organising arguments

When you begin finding relevant journal articles and other sources, you need to organise this information.  Good organisation will make it easier to write your report, essay or answer.

Begin with a Microsoft Word document.

  1. Copy the citation of each article onto a new page of the document
  2. Use direct quotes or paraphrasing, including the page number
  3. Use different coloured text for each source (this helps you identify where it came from in step 6 below)
  4. Print out each page
  5. Cut the page up into individual quotes
  6. Place similar arguments together, laying them out on the desk or floor


Each pile forms a different argument or part for your assignment.


Understand your preferred learning style

This is just one way to express learning styles.


You learn best by listening, hearing, recognising sounds, or verbal instructions.

Auditory learners may prefer to attend lectures, follow verbal instructions, or discuss concepts with others.  They might learn by explaining a concept to someone else, using their own words (paraphrasing).


You learn best by seeing, watching, observing, or using visual cues like images, colour, shapes and diagrams.

Visual learners may prefer to watch videos or learn by observing someone else performing an task.  They may use colour, images or diagrams to explain or remember things.


You learn best by touching, doing, performing, acting, or having physical contact with objects or people.

Kinaesthetic learners enjoy the practical side of learning, usually involving hands-on activities, especially in laboratories or physical activity.  These learners may need to dismantle things in order to understand them better.


You learn best with text-based material, writing, reading, or using lists or numbers.

Read/write learners find they learn best when they can read something or write it out.  These learners may re-write their lecture notes or mathematical equations in order to remember or understand them.

Combination Learners

Many people find they learn best using a combination of learning styles, usually where one or two learning styles are used more than the others.

These learners may benefit from different learning styles depending on the kind of discipline they are tyring to learn or understand.


By understanding how you learn best, you can shape your learning experience to include more of that style of learning.






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