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Migration & Citizenship: Plan Your Search

A guide to help you find legislation and other information about Migration and Citizenship

Why plan your search?


At university you are expected to find and use scholarly information:

  • in your assignments
  • to prepare for class
  • to explore new theories and ideas

However, to find scholarly information you need to search in a particular way to get good results.

Use this page to learn how to plan your search and find the best scholarly information sources to use. 

Step 1: Identify your key concepts


Before you find any information, identify the main ideas (or key concepts) in your assignment question or research topic.


Do we have an obligation to grant citizenship to asylum seekers? 

The key concepts are: 

Asylum Seekers Citizenship Obligations

Step 2: Brainstorm keywords & synonyms


Different words can be used to describe the same concept, and sometimes your concepts can be very specific or very broad. 

Think of other words that could be used to describe your key concepts, including:

  • synonyms,
  • broader ideas & terms
  • more specific ideas & terms. 


Migration Citizenship Factors











Some resources to help with brainstorming: 

  • Google & Wikipedia
  • Dictionaries & Thesauri
  • Reference books & Encyclopedias

Step 3: Build your search 


There are multiple strategies that you can used to build a search so that you get the results you want. Start with building a basic search, then learn to build an advanced search.

Boolean Operators are a way of telling a database or search engine how to do your search. Watch the video to learn how.


Choose the keywords you want to use, and use OR to combine those synonyms & similar words:

Key Concept Keywords & Synonyms Search
Asylum Seekers Refugees (“Asylum Seekers” OR Refugees)

Use AND to combine your key concepts together: 

("asylum seekers" OR refugees) AND (rights OR obligations)

In addition to Boolean Operators, there are other strategies you can use in your searching. Learn about Advanced Search Strategies in the video below.


Choose the keywords you want to use, and use OR to combine those synonyms & similar words:

Key Concept Keywords & Synonyms Search
Asylum Seekers


("Asylum Seekers" OR Refugees)
Citizenship Citizenship Citizenship
Rights Obligations (Rights OR Obligations)

Use "double inverted commas" when you are searching for an exact phrase that is two or more words long:

("Asylum Seekers" OR Refugees)


Finally, use AND to combine your key concepts together:

("Asylum Seekers" OR Refugees) AND Citizenship AND (Rights OR Obligations)

Step 4: Start searching


You will need to find different types of information during your studies. These may include: 

  • Government Acts, Regulations and Cases
  • Legal commentaries, policies and procedures
  • Australian resources such as Government and Judicial websites
  • International resources on asylum and migration
  • Books and journal articles

The type of information you are looking for will determine where you search, and how you search.

Using the steps above will help you find most of these information types, but there are also other places to look.

Explore this study guide or ask a librarian to discover more. 

Step 5: Review your results


Not all the information you get from a search will be useful; A successful search will show results relevant to your topic. If your results are not relevant go back and try different keywords in your search.

Find relevant results by checking the: 

Even if your information is relevant, it might not be good quality. Check if it passes the C.R.A.P. test before you use it.