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Research Skills

Selecting your resources

The ART of selection


 Is information correct?

 Is it from a credible author/source?


 Does it relate to your topic?

 Does it meet your research goal/s?


 Is information current/up-to date?

The Holmesglen healthy research diet: Websites are great sources of general background information. Stick to academically suitable options only and use in moderation where possible. Books, articles and reports are excellent academic sources. There is no limit to their usage and should make up the bulk of your research diet.

Evaluation methods and toolkits

SIFT (the four moves)

Mike Caulfield's SIFT method provides four simple moves to evaluate information, news and online media in today's current digital landscape. This material has been adapted and reused under a CC BY 4.0 license.




the source


better coverage


original context


 Want to learn how to spot false or misleading sources of information in the media?

See the fake news tab of this guide.

The CRAAP test

Originally developed by Meriam Library's Sarah Blakeslee, the CRAAP test will help you decide a source's relevance to your information and assessment needs. This material has been adapted and reused under a CC BY 4.0 license.


Currency - The timeliness of the information


Relevance - The timeliness of the information


Authority - The source of the information


Accuracy - The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content


Purpose - The reason the information exists

First Nations resources and knowledges

See the toolkit below for detailed guidance on appropriately selecting, using and referencing First Nations resources.

Infographic with the text: This Indigenous Knowledge Attribution toolkit enables opportunities for students to critically analyse sources, respect Indigenous knowledge authority, support the reclamation of Indigenous knowledges, understand their own positionality in relation to knowledges and confidently draw on and attribute Indigenous knowledges

Image: IKAT infographic (Indigenous Archives Collective et al., 2023, p.4, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license)

A - Z guide to resources

Selecting sources by type

It is important to understand that different sources have distinct information characteristics and purpose. See below a set of guidelines on how to best find and search within resources for relevant sections and information.

  Books / Ebooks

Cover broad topics and/or subjects. e.g. leadership management 

Where to find

Library Search 

Ebook platforms:

How to search

Check index and/or contents for topic and related keywords.

Index is located at back with topics/terms listed alphabetically.

Contents is located at front listing chapter content.


Provide visual representation of events, concepts and/or data. e.g. image of human body's circulatory system

Where to find

Free/CC image sites:

How to search

Check for any terms of use, CC or copyright licenses before selecting an image.

Free images can be freely copied, re-used and adapted.

CC Creative Commons images can be copied or re-used according to the terms of the specific CC license.

© Copyright images cannot be copied or re-used without explicit permission from creator.

  Journal articles

Cover specific topics and subjects with narrow focus. e.g. effect of charismatic leadership on employee performance

Where to find

Library databases 
Browse by subject or A - Z listing.

Google Scholar 
Use on campus or set up your home device to link to Holmesglen database subscriptions (see help guide).

How to search

Check abstract and subject listing for keywords and related topics.

Abstract provides a summary and outlines main focus.

Subject listing lists related topics and wider focus.

 View example

  Media and news

Cover events and news stories reported by media outlets, including political/social/economic topical issues and debates in society and developments locally and internationally. e.g. news story on workforce shortages

Where to find

Library databases 

Visit websites of reputable media outlets (e.g. ABC News, The Age, The Australian Financial Review etc.).
See the BBC Australian media guide for more information.

How to search

Determine journalism style of writing and fact check information for credibility. Media reports may contain false information/stories and/or exaggerations/distortions of the truth.

Journalistic style will reveal how the material is to be read/treated. For example if it is investigative, analytical, opinion, entertainment, satirical etc. 

Search elsewhere to see if the story is covered by other media and whether there are differing viewpoints available, omissions of information etc.

View ABC News Basics


Cover statistics, industry/annual reports and performance, research findings and recommendations. e.g. Dental Services in Australia industry report 

Where to find

Library databases 
Browse by subject or A - Z listing.

Government, educational, business/company and NGO websites.

How to search

Check contents and/or executive summary (where available) for topic and related keywords.

Contents is located at front listing section content.

Executive summary is located on first few pages summarising content and findings.

  Streaming video

Provide visual and audio demonstrations, explanations and/or discussions of topics. e.g. documentary on the environmental cost of fast fashion 

Where to find

Library Search 

Streaming video platforms:

How to search

Use topic and related keywords in provided Library search box or streaming platform.

Video title and summary will provide an overview of the video's content coverage.

Video chapters (if available) provide pin points to skip directly to relevant sections.


Cover general background information, may publish statistics and provide links to frameworks, reports, fact sheets and other resources. e.g. Department of Social Services

Wikipedia is NOT an appropriate academic source. Only use as a starting point for your own information.

Where to find

Government, educational, business/company and NGO websites.

How to search

Check website domain contained in URL and about section to determine if source is academically appropriate.

.gov → Government

.org → Organisation 

.au → Australia

.edu → Education

.com / .co → Company/Business