NBD1100 Built Environment Communication and Skills: Getting started on your assignment

On this page

This page provides information on getting started on your assignment and keyword searching strategies.

Library training programs

Check out the training program offered by the Library introducing e-books, and referencing using the bibliographic software EndNote.

Review your referencing skills

Go to the link provided below and answer Yes or No to see if the reference provided is correct or not? 

Harvard referencing quiz

Steps to a successful assignment

  1. Collect all your information about the assessment
  • the details about the assignment
  • the types of resources required for your Reference List e.g. journal articles, book chapters, etc.
  • notes from classes on how to do the assessment
  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 find out about 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 (Harvard or IEEE). Refer to Harvard referencing guides for further assistance.
  1. Start writing
  • collect notes from your reading and start to build your report 
  • write the correct references for each of your readings for your Reference List

          Refer to the Academic Writing page to read about the writing process and its steps.


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.

Source: University of New South Wales

    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)

Finding references for your assignments

The assessment guideline for writing the literature review suggests that you will need to include academic references (journal articles/books). References are not included in the word count. You are required to follow the Harvard style of referencing.

Learning Activities: 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