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Education (Early Years & Primary): Search Tips

This guide will outline some of the resources that will be useful throughout your course and beyond.

This page provides some tips around searching for resources, particularly through the library's search tool, FindIt.

1. Forming a search query
2. Using FindIt
3. Specific search queries
4. How to browse

1. Forming a search query

When you look for information you form a search query, usually by using a keyword or combination of keywords. The search query is what you put into a search engine, whether that's on the web, FindIt or on a database. The below tips are handy for all three information sources.


  • Use the terminology your lecturers use
  • Check your textbooks for definitions of terms
  • Try lots of different keywords - brainstorm and think of many different ways of saying the same thing.


  • Can you think of ways to make your search more specific? (eg: by adding keywords, restricting results by location or year published)
  • Can you think of ways to make your search more broad? (eg: fewer keywords, less specific keyword)
  • Hint: It can be useful to start broad when you are not sure about your research question.

2. Using FindIt

When you go to the library website, you will find a search box that looks like:

Details of all the library resources, both physical and digital, are retrievable through the various tabs and links on this box.

FindIt gathers results from all the physical library resources, eJournals and eBooks, as well as many of the databases. If you select the various tabs to the right, you can restrict your search just to items that are 'On the shelf' (that is, physical library resources), just eJournals or just eBooks. You can also browse the databases by clicking on the Databases A-Z link.

Using FindIt

The below video takes you through the basics of using FindIt, Melbourne Polytechnic library's discovery tool:

3. Specific search queries

Specific search

The default search on FindIt is by keyword. However, if there's a particular author you're after, you can search by author:Screenshot of FindIt search. Author field is selected, search terms included in search box are Mac Naughton, Glenda.

Or by title:

Screen shot of a FindIt search, The title field is selected, the search box contains "Parents and professionals in early childhood settings"

Remember, you can always use the Advanced Search to create a specific search query. However, you can always filter your search results after you have retrieved the results as well, for example by resource type, year or date range, location.

4. How to browse


Sometimes it can be difficult to start the search for information for an assignment. Remember that you can always browse by subject or topic. You can do this in a couple of ways: by subject heading or by call numbers (only applicable to print books and physical library resources). Remember you can filter these results even further in order to make your search more specific.

Subject Headings Call Numbers

Activity programs in education
Child care
     Child care -- Australia
     Child care -- Study and teaching

Child development
     Child development -- Australia
Child psychology
Early childhood education
     Early childhood education -- Curricula
     Early childhood Education -- Social Aspects
     Early childhood education -- Activity programs

Early childhood educators
Education, Preschool
     Education, Preschool -- Activity programs
Educational planning
Educational psychology
Inclusive education
Language arts (Early Childhood)
Multicultural education -- Australia
Preschool children -- Psychology
Reflective teaching










Child psychology 


Child development

Cognitive learning

Early childhood education

Primary school teaching

Language and literacy

Mathematics (primary)

Child rearing

Hint: if you've found a great resource, check out the subject headings or call number attached to that resource - it can be a great way to find related content.