Power Searching: Helpful Tips

Use this guide to help you find and use information more effectively.

Information Overload !

Image from  nutritioncpr.com

eResources at BGS

The Library staff have put together an extensive list of online resources to provide you with shortcuts to good quality information.

Links to all of our databases are on this page, as well as links to other useful sites.

Click on the eResources link in the Library widget in MyGrammar to access all of these resources.

State Library of Queensland

Click on the icon above to discover how to set up an account with the 'State Library of Queensland'. 

Discovery @ BGS

Why Can't I Just Google?

Sentence Starters

Sentence Starters: Comparing and Contrasting by bgslibrary

See more Sentence Starter ideas here.


Diigo is a powerful social bookmarking tool to not only save your bookmarks online, but allow you to share them and see sites others have bookmarked.

Find instuctions here:

Google Alerts

You can monitor new information posted on the internet by creating Google Alerts.  These send you an email (daily or weekly) about the topic you have requested if any new content is published.

Use this to collect information in advance about assignments you know are coming up, but be specific with your search terms.

Create a Google Alert

Textbook Reading Strategies

Try the SQ4R method of reading non-fiction textbooks in order to help you focus on and retain the information being presented.

  • Step 1:   Survey
  • Step 2:   Question
  • Step 3:   Read
  • Step 4:   Record
  • Step 5:   Recite
  • Step 6:   Reflect

From: http://academic.cuesta.edu/acasupp/as/208.HTM

Developing information Savvy Students

Ms Hunter has created an excellent guide for Year 9 and 10 History students which can be found at:

Developing Info-Savvy Students.


We live in a world where too much information is bombarding us every day, however this information will help you to find the best resources to help you with your assignments!


How quickly is the internet growing?

Watch in real-time how much information is being uploaded/downloaded/sent/consumed per second on the internet!


What happens on the internet in one minute? 

Click this interactive website to see.

Or try this one - 'an infographic to show you a breakdown of what contributes to more than half a million gigabytes of information being transferred all across the world every minute.'

Where do I start?

It always helps to have a plan, and the more structure you have in your plan, the more successful you will be.

Here are some useful steps for completing your assignments:


Define the question - What do I need to know?

Locate information - Use databases and quality sources.

Select information  that is most relevant.

Organise your notes.

Present your information in an appealing way.

         Assess/ Reflect/ Evaluate

What can the Library offer?

Our Library has purchased subscriptions to a range of databases and ebooks to suit the topics you are studying in class. Find these on our eResources page.  You can also use the Library Catalogue to find print books for your topic.

  BGS Discovery - find a link on our eResources page.


BGS Databases

Brisbane Grammar School invests a significant amount of money to help you access quality sources of information.

The best databases for Middle School are:

Britannica Encyclopedia

              Britannica Image Quest

                   Library Webs

  EBSCO eBooks

                        Links Plus

ANZ Reference Centre

What about Wikipedia?



What about Wikipedia?  Can I use it for my assignments?  Can I quote it in my assignments?

While Wikipedia is useful to gain an overview of a topic, you cannot guarantee its accuracy until you have double-checked your information against other reliable sources of information.

Read it, but don't quote it or list it in your Bibliography.

See this page for more information.

URLs give you clues

Learn to read the URL for instant information:

.edu  -        school or university  -   often trustworthy  (however, is it by a student or a scholar?)
.gov  -        government website  -  trustworthy
.mil   -        government website  -  trustworthy
.org  -        an organisation, often not-for-profit  -  some can have a strong bias or agenda
.net   -        a network  -  may be trustworthy, be careful
.com  -      company or commercial   -  they could be trying to persuade you or to sell something)
~   -            personal website  -  be very wary

Always double-check your information against known and trusted sources of information (eg books and encyclopedias).
Check our database links in the boxes below.

Narrowing 500,000 Search Results

The words AND, OR, and NOT can help you combine concepts, as well as helping you to expand or narrow your search.

  • AND Narrows Your Search
    Joining search terms with AND looks for results which must include all of your keywords: natural disasters AND floods  (search engines by default add in the word AND so you don't need to)
  • OR Broadens Your Search
    Joining search terms with OR broadens your search and can be used with synonyms: Cantonese OR Mandarin
  • NOT Limits Your Search
    Joining search terms with NOT excludes keywords from your search: pets NOT cats

Power Searching - How to succeed in Year 9 and beyond