Find library resources

Kia ora. This guide shows you how to find and organise information for your assignments or research using the Library.



Planning is critical for assignments. By understanding your assignment question and key concepts from the start, you can avoid any misunderstanding. This guide will help you know which areas to research, answer your assignment correctly, and use your time effectively.

Start early

Give yourself enough time to plan, research, write and edit your assignment. Also factor in deadlines for other assignments. Starting earlier will decrease pressure on yourself.

Breakdown the question

Read your assignment question and focus on what is being asked. Follow these steps:

  • What are the instructional words? - What is the assignment asking you to do?
  • What is the topic? Pull out the key concepts and subject words, which will help with the next stage.
  • How can I paraphrase this question? Paraphrasing will help you interpret the question. Are there different parts and sub-questions?
  • What are the limits of the question? - What is the specific focus of the assignment? This is important for staying on track.

Click here to see some examples from Student Learning.

Consider the type of assignment

Is it an essay, report, annotated bibliography or literature review? Different assignments will require different approaches and types of academic writing.

Helpful resources:

Check the course learning objectives

Your course will list course learning objectives in your course outline. Check the assignment details to see what learning objectives relate to your assignment. They are a useful way to understand how this relates to your course and what you need to include.


  • What topics and key concepts will you talk about?
  • What do you know already? Think back to the classes, tutorials and the course reading list.
  • Can you start planning the structure of the assignment? Can you draft an answer to the assignment question with key points? Does this draft meet the course learning objectives?
  • What more information do I need to find out? Write these down, to form your next research steps.

Let ideas flow freely and this may help you consider new areas.

Checklist for planning

  • Do I understand what I am being asked?
  • What type of assignment is it?
  • What course learning objectives does this assignment relate too?
  • What do I know already?
  • What more information do I need to find?
  • Does my draft plan answer all areas of the assignment question?

You are now ready to start searching for more resources!