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Search effectively

The assignment calculator can help you plan your time when completing an assessment task. This guide can help you learn to analyse the task to determine the key topics you need to research and any limits to the task. Once you understand the task you can begin to develop an effective search strategy. You can explore other guides to find information and understand credible sources.

Analyse the topic

Before searching for sources, you need to analyse your topic.

Topic: Explore three ways in which the mental health of teenagers can be improved through exercise.

Search for sources in Databases and Discover using keywords combined with search tools. Begin by identifying the keywords.


These are words and phrases specifically related to your topic. Start with the ones from your assessment task then think alternative words (including broader, narrower and related terms, as well as different spellings for your keywords). The table below provides an example.

Keywords Alternative words
teenagers adolescents, young adults, teens, youth, juvenile
mental health mental illness, depression, emotional well-being, anxiety, self-esteem
exercise sports, active, workout, fitness, athletics

Now that you have some alternative keywords, you need to combine them with the following search tools: phrase searching, truncation, wildcards, Boolean operators and nesting.

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