UTS Library

CODEx Autumn 2019: Brief example search

In this guide:

Here are some steps we recommend for finding resources on your topic. The sample search is Brief 1: cricket fast bowlers injury prevention. 

The steps are not so much linear as cyclical; you'll find more information along the way that will help you refine or perhaps even redefine your needs.

The challenge with this brief is that the industry is quite narrow so you'll need to dig a bit deeper to find relevant information.

Step 1: Scope your topic

  • what questions need to be answered? 

  • who are the experts that can answer those questions?

  • where will these experts be publishing / sharing these answers? 

  • how will I find these publications?  

Example Brief 1: Cricket fast bowler injury prediction and protection - lumbar and other injuries
  • Question: identify activities, stresses and forces that induce injury in fast bowlers - cricket. Manufacture a lightweight wearable device to measure and record these activities
  • Experts: researchers, companies operating in this industry
  • Publications: recent books, recent research articles, industry or company reports
  • Search tools: library catalogue, Google Books, SportDiscus, Google Scholar, Library's company and industry databases

Step 2: Background research

  • try to answer: Who, What, Where, When, How, Why
  • general searching - Google, Wikipedia, browse books and articles, videos
  • define key terminology - e.g. microsensors
  • identify the experts - key researchers, research centres and companies operating in this space? Who are the leaders? What industries or disciplines are involved? e.g. engineers, sport scientists, scientific researchers, sporting bodies, government agencies, software

Step 3: Search strategy

  • identify keywords and related terms - for example: sportsmen and sportswomen, cricket, fast bowlers, stress, injuries, microsensors, devices, GPS tags
  • select specific search tools - Library catalogue, SportDiscus, Google scholar, ProQuest, Scopus
  • build search statement - e.g. (cricket or bowler*) AND (track* or monitor*) AND (light or lightweight or micro) and (injur* or stress or performance)
  • identify inclusion or exclusion criteria - e.g. Australia, last 10 years

Step 4: Find and Evaluate

  • run your search and apply filters where needed
  • check against your criteria: Currency, Accuracy / Authority, Relevance, Purpose - CRAP test


  • Establish a collaboration space
    establish a shared space to keep in touch with your group (e.g. Google Drive - team drive, Facebook, EverNote, Slack, project management tools like Trello)
  • Stay organised
    how will you keep track of all the resources you find?
    how will you share it with the team?
    Consider referencing software like EndNote / RefWorks / Mendeley - they'll make it easier to reference later!
  • Critically appraise all your sources
    how reliable is your source?
    can the information be verified or corroborated by other sources?