IFN600 Understanding Research
Preparatory Task 1b: Search strategies
Due: Week 3 Tutorial
Assignment 1 requires you to write a literature review related to a research problem
of your choice. In order to review relevant literature, you first need to find it! This
preparatory task will help you to develop an effective search strategy that you can
use to identify literature to read and review for Assignment 1.
Drawing on this week’s lecture, your task this week is to develop a search strategy for
your specific research problem. (Keep in mind that you will probably need to revise
and improve your chosen research problem several times over the coming weeks.
Reviewing relevant literature is one activity to help you do this.)
1. Briefly outline the research problem you have identified
2. List the main search terms and phrases related to your problem
3. Try your basic search in Google Scholar and write a sentence or two about how
effective it was, e.g., were the “top hits” relevant to your problem, did you have to
search well down the list to find relevant references, did you accidently retrieve
unexpected results, etc.?
4. Refine your search based on what you discovered in your first. (You may need to
repeat this step several times before you achieve a satisfactory result)
5. Try your final search string in QUT Quick Find and write a sentence or two about
how effective this is. Include information about how you used the filters.
6. List two high-quality, relevant sources you retrieved during your literature search
—include a full APA reference for each
General Assessment Criteria for IFN600
All assessment items for IFN600 require you to present a clear, coherent, convincing,
yet concise, argument to support your claims for the value, novelty and feasibility of
your research plan. Do not confuse quantity with quality. Writing clearly does not
necessarily mean writing a lot. Writing either too little or too much can obscure your
argument. You will not receive high marks for a plan which is technically “correct”
but which is hard to understand either because crucial concepts are missing or are
hard to find.
Clear argumentation means expressing your ideas in a way that makes the main
points immediately obvious to the reader without requiring them to guess at your
intent or to search through irrelevant or unimportant detail. In particular, when
presenting a research plan you must always keep in mind that your target readership
will not necessarily be familiar with the technical details of your chosen research
problem, so you must express everything in terms easily understandable by a lay
reader. Uncommon terminology and abbreviations should be either clearly explained
or, preferably, avoided entirely.
The Preparatory Tasks
The preparatory tasks in this teaching unit are designed to help you make regular
progress towards completing your assignments throughout the semester, rather than
leaving the bulk of the work until just before the assignment submission deadline.
You can receive formative feedback on your task through the discussion in the
corresponding week’s tutorial. Feedback relevant to your task is likely to be of value
to all students, so should be discussed openly.