Bachelor of Paramedicine: Overview

About this Guide

This guide will introduce you to physical and online resources. It will also help you to develop a search strategy to locate useful material to complete assessment tasks.

Steps to a successful assignment

1.    Collect all your information about the assignment

  • the handout on the assignment (due date, word limit, formatting, presentation, marking guide)
  • the type of sources required for your Reference List, e.g. books, journal articles
  • notes from classes on how to complete the essay 

2.    Analyse and prepare

  • read your notes and class readings for direction
  • do a mind map on the topic- use questions to expand the ideas and knowledge you already have
  • do some preliminary research to expand your ideas
  • from your mind map, write some points grouped under general headings
  • where there are gaps in information (or more detail or examples are needed), write down some questions that you can research
  • identify keywords & search the Library for additional sources, e.g. books and journal articles (see the box below for an example of how to break down a topic into Keywords, see the videos in this guide on searching for journal articles). See: Keywords and Search Tips for Finding Information
  • write a plan for your essay, 
  • what information do you already have? What further information do you need?

3.    Read for Information,

  • read Required Reading and make notes
  • read the journal articles and books you have found on your topic,
  • prepare each Reference as you read it, and ensure it is written in the APA referencing style. See the APA referencing guide for further assistance

4.    Start writing

  • collect notes from your reading and start to build your essay
  • write the correct References for each of your readings for your Reference

Keywords and search tips for finding information

Watch this video to learn how to identify keywords when searching for information on a topic

Successful keyword searching requires applying search techniques such as using operators to join search terms, specific phrases or relevant word variations. Use the tabs at the top of the panel to explore them.

The three most commonly used operators are ANDOR and NOT.   They can broaden or narrow your set of results and exclude unwanted search terms and concepts.

For example:

AND will narrow your search returning results that contain all of your search terms 

myocardial infarction AND aspirin

OR will broaden your search returning results that contain any but not all of your search terms. It is useful for finding synonyms or where different words are of equal value in your search 

heart attack OR myocardial infarction

NOT will narrow your search by eliminating words from your search results. It should be used with care as it can easily exclude relevant results.

myocardial infarction NOT silent

To search for two or more words in exact order, place double quotation marks " " around the words. The database will only return articles containing that specific phrase rather than articles containing each word found individually anywhere in the text.


The phrase "heart attack" will retrieve articles with all words as you typed them in with no other words in between.   

Truncation is also known as stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include alternative word endings and spellings.

To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol * at the end.
The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.
For example:
child* = child, child's, children, children's, childhood

It is important not to shorten the root too much as it may retrieve too many irrelevant results. For example chil*  will bring up childless, chiller, chilly, and Chile.

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.


     This content is licensed to Victoria University under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.