NBD1100 Built Environment Communication and Skills: Overview

About this guide

This guide provides a starting point for finding and using resources in the VU Library that will support the NBD1100 Built Environment Communication and Skills unit.

< Use the side menu to explore the contents of this guide.

On this page

Welcome Video

What are keywords?

Key words are words in a question that tell you the approach you should take when answering a research question. 

Keywords can include content (topic), limiting (restricting), and task (instruction) words.

Assessment example:

"Assess the impact of climate change on the built environment in Australia"

    Content Words      

  • Tell you what the topic area is.
  • Help you to focus your research and reading on the correct area.
  • Think about synonyms or similar words.    
  • e.g. in this example: climate change, and built environment.

    Limiting Words 

  • Tell you what area(s) to focus on, e.g. Australia
  • Define the topic area further.
  • Indicate aspects of the topic area you should narrowly concentrate on.




    Task Words

  • Tell you what to do; the action(s) you need to perform, e.g. compare, contrast, describe, summarise, i.e. assess as in this example.

When you are searching for information for an essay question, assignment or project, use the identified content and limiting keywords to search for information sources in our Library Search and online.

Keyword search strategies

List your main concepts or keywords:

"built environment"
planning OR proposals 

Apply the following strategies to combine them:

  • for a basic search, enter the identified keywords in the search field, for example: "built environment" planning
  • if you want to combine "built environment" and some others aspects of your research such as: sustainability, architectural design, you can also use the Boolean operators (AND, OR & NOT) to narrow or broaden your searches, and construct more complex search statements, for example:

 "built environment" AND sustainability AND (plan* OR proposals OR reports) 

  • think of possible synonyms and related words or phrases
  • search exact phrases by enclosing the phrase in quotes, for example, "built environment"
  • find a term with various endings by using as a truncation symbol represented by an asterisk (*), for example, plan* will retrieve plan, plans, planning,planners, etc.
  • group related or synonymous terms together by placing them in parentheses, for example, (plan* OR proposals OR reports)

The Library Search

The Library Search is a good starting point for researching any topic, including the building and construction.  Off-campus users are prompted to log in with their VU username and password when they first enter the search criteria in the search box. You may search using single keywords, but it often makes sense to combine keywords into terms or concepts, e.g. "building science".


The image is showing the search result brought up by entering the “building science” keywords. A range of material is brought up, mostly consisting of e-books and books, journals, and conference articles. You can further filter the search result using different facets shown on the left-hand side, such as publication date, academic journals, full-text online filters, or Books & e-books or Journal articles filter shown above the search box. An effective search is an iterative process of finding relevant information sources, modifying your search strategy by varying the keywords or key concepts based on what you did and did not find, and then searching again to find yet more relevant information sources.

Steps to a successful assignment

  1. Collect all your information about the assignment.
  • the handout on the assignment
  • the type of resources required for your Reference List e.g. journal articles, book chapters, etc.
  • notes from classes on how to do the assignment
  1. Analyse and prepare
  • identify the Required Reading 
  • identify keywords & search the Library for additional resources e.g. books, journal articles (see the boxes below to know what are keywords and for some keyword search strategies)
  1. Read for Information
  • read Required Reading and make notes
  • read the additional articles etc. for information not in the Required Reading
  • prepare each Reference as you read it, and ensure it is written in the suggested referencing style (APA 7th or IEEE). Refer to APA 7th or IEEE referencing guides for further assistance.
  1. Start writing
  • collect notes from your reading and start to build your assignment
  • write the correct References for each of your readings for your Reference List

          Refer to the Academic Resources & Referencing page to read about the writing process and its steps.


Learning Activity: Searching for scholarly sources

Go to the Padlet (virtual wall)  and write 1 or 2 keywords or phrases you will use to search for information for your assessment tasks. Remember to apply your search strategy.

You will use these keywords and phrases later on in this class to search for journal articles using Library Search or databases.

Once you are on the Padlet, double click anywhere to enter your keywords.

Padlet's link: https://victoriauniversityau.padlet.org/e5028344/jt0e1pjv19q2

, or you can access it below.


Made with Padlet

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Acknowledgement of Country

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Ancestors, Elders and families of the Kulin Nation (Melbourne campuses), the Eora Nation (Sydney campus) and the Yulara/Yugarapul and Turrbal Nation (Brisbane campus) who are the traditional owners of University land. As we share our own knowledge practices within the University, may we pay respect to the deep knowledge embedded within the Aboriginal community and recognise their ownership of Country.

We acknowledge that the land on which we meet, learn, and share knowledge is a place of age-old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal, and that the Traditional Owners living culture and practices have a unique role in the life of this region. Learn more from our Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit.


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