Assignment research help


Keyword or phrase searching

Effective searching is a skill that must be learned and practiced. Below are examples of how to improve your searching in Te Waharoa. Most academic databases make use of similar features (check the specific databases help section if you are unsure). 


  • Use quote marks "..." to search for exact phrases e.g. "climate change" searches for those two words in that order


  • Use AND (in caps) to link two keywords or phrases e.g. "climate change" AND agriculture find only resources where both phrases appear


  • Use OR (in caps) to expand the search using alternative keywords e.g. "climate change" OR "global warming" finds resources where either of the phrases appear


  • Use brackets (...) to group keywords and change the order by which they are search e.g. ("climate change" OR "global warming") AND (agriculture OR farming)


  • Use an asterisk * to search for a keyword and all of the word's alternative endings e.g. farm* will search for farm, farming, farmer, farmers


Try these search examples yourself and note how many results are returned for the different combinations

Find videos on searching and more help here


Searching in Te Waharoa will often produced too many results. To reduce the number of results and find relevant resources it is important to learn what filters you can use:

  • filtering by year will cut out outdated results and make it easier to find the most recent research in an area
  • depending on your needs it can be a good idea to filter by 'Resource Type'. A book often provides introductory information to a topic whereas an academic article will be more specific and take certain information for granted
  • resources in Te Waharoa will have subject headings attached to them and you can filter by these subjects to narrow your search

Te Waharoa tips

It is important to login before searching. Your login details are the same as your BlackBoard. The image below shows the tools available on resources in Te Waharoa

  • use the pin icon to save search results to your account (you must be logged in for this to work)
  • use the quote mark icon to access the citation for the resource
  • use the orange arrows when they appear on articles to find articles cited in the article you are looking at as well as article citing the article you are looking at


Follow the trail

Good articles can lead you to other relevant articles which will save you time searching.

The two red arrows on Te Waharoa results link to sources citing the article, and sources cited in the article. These direct you to what the library provides access to.

GoogleScholar has a similar feature which links to articles which have cited the article you are looking at and "related articles"

Not all articles on GoogleScholar will be available to you. Link GoogleScholar to the library by going to the settings in GoogleScholar > Library links > searching 'Victoria University of Wellington')