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Higher degree students and early career researchers


This guide outlines our services and resources for Higher Degree by Research students and Early Career Researchers.

As an HDR student or ECR you are supported by your Librarian who can provide tailored support at all stages of the research life cycle:


Finding and reviewing literature, creating researcher profiles and identifying funding opportunities.


Data management planning and reference management.


Journal selection and publication strategy, archiving and promoting your thesis and depositing open access versions of your publications in ACU Research Bank.


Metric analysis and support for grant applications and RPRPs.

For a detailed listing of the services available, read the A-Z of Research Services section of our website.

ACU Research Bank

ACU Research Bank is ACU's institutional research repository. It serves to collect, preserve, and showcase the research publications and outputs of ACU staff and higher degree students. The theses collection includes PhD and Masters Theses of ACU higher degree students. Where possible and permissible, a full text version of a research output is available as open access.

ACU Research Bank supports the Green Open Access model of OA. Green Open Access occurs when an author deposits a full-text version of their article in an institutional repository or a subject repository, thereby making it freely available online to readers.

Why deposit your research publications in ACU Research Bank?

  • Increase access - all Research Bank entries are discoverable using Google Scholar.
  • Increase research impact - when your work reaches a wider audience, it can often lead to an increase in citations and other impact measures.
  • Keep track of your work- have access to all of your research outputs wherever you are.
  • Enable compliance with Funders Open Access mandates - deposit of the post print version of your article meets the conditions of both Australian and International Open Access funding mandates.
  • ERA reporting - Publication data for the ACU ERA submission is sourced from Research Bank.

To deposit the authors accepted manuscript version of your publication into Research Bank, contact Library Research Services.


Research workflow tasks

Review the Literature

All research needs to be situated in relation to what has already been done in the field. So the first step in any project is "research about research". This might mean:

  • finding out what is already known about a topic, in order to locate gaps and justify the research being undertaken
  • locating the work of important theorists whose ideas will inform the research
  • identifying useful methodologies, methods and documentary sources
  • locating and evaluating all the empirical studies, published and unpublished, that are relevant to the research questions.

Find key journals in your discipline

Citation searching

It is important to keep up to date with who is researching and being cited in your area of interest. Cited reference searching allows you to find articles that have been cited by a previously published author or work. This search technique can be done forward or backward in time.

Forward citation searching retrieves records that have cited a publication, also known as "cited by". This provides you with more recently published articles that may be relevant for your topic.

Backward citation searching involves records that an item has cited (these will be located in the article's reference list), using known relevant articles to identify other key articles or search terms.

Databases useful for cited reference searching:

Developing a search strategy

1. Identify the main keywords: Break the topic or question into 2-4 main keywords or concepts

For example: Discuss the current use of mobile devices in learning in Australian universities

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3 Concept 4
Mobile devices Learning Universities Australia

2. The question asks for current information - how old is current? Generally no older than five years.

3. Consider synonyms, variant forms of spelling, variations of words/terms, and singular/plural versions of words when developing your strategy - as there is usually more than one way to express an idea.

Concept 1 mobile devices mobile phones iphones smart phones ipads tablets

Concept 2 learning education study

Concept 3 universities colleges higher education tertiary institutions

Concept 4 australia australian australia's australasian

4.Truncate terms to allow for variant word endings, and apply a date range.

5. Link the concept groups together in a way that a database will recognise. Most databases use boolean operators, or they join keywords together. Boolean operators, can help you adjust the scope of your search - by either limiting or broadening your search results.

6. Connect keywords using the AND and OR connectors.

Review types

Type Overview
Systematic review Attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit and reproducible methods aimed at minimizing bias in the review process, in order to produce more reliable findings that can be used to inform decision making. A systematic review can be either quantitative or qualitative. A quantitative systematic review will include studies that have numerical data. A qualitative review derives data from observation, interviews, or verbal interactions and focuses on the meanings and interpretations of the participants.
Narrative (literature) review Synthesizes the findings of literature retrieved from searches of computerised databases, hand searches, and authoritative texts.
Critical review Shows that the literature has been extensively researched and critically evaluated. Goes beyond the narrative review as it contains a degree of analysis and conceptual innovation of the literature.
Scoping review Rapid gathering of literature in a given policy or clinical area where the aims are to accumulate as much evidence as possible and map the results and provide an overview of the type, extent and quantity of research available on a given topic.
Rapid review Uses systematic review methods to search and critically appraise the literature to assess what is already known about a particular policy or issue. How complete the searches are depends on time factors.
Umbrella review Focuses on a broad condition or problem and compiles evidence from other reviews into one document which highlights competing interventions. Does not include primary studies.

Systematic review or literature review?

  Systematic review Literature review
Question Focused on a single question An overview not necessarily focused on a single question
Protocol Protocol is planned and specific No protocol is included
Background Provides a summary of the available literature on the topic Provides a summary of the available literature on the topic
Objectives Clear objectives are identified Objectives may or may not be identified
Criteria Inclusion & exclusion criteria is stated before the review is started Criteria is not specified
Search strategy Comprehensive search conducted in a systematic way that can be repeated Search strategy not explicitly stated
Selecting articles Process stated explicitly Not described in the literature review
Evaluating articles Comprehensive evaluation of study quality included Evaluation of study quality may or may not be included
Extracting relevant information Process clearly stated Not stated
Results and data synthesis Clear summaries of studies based on high quality evidence Summary based on studies where the quality of the articles may not be specified. May also be influenced by the reviewer's theories, needs and beliefs


To ensure that you receive credit for your scholarly publications, you need to create and maintain your researcher profile.

Researcher profiles and identifiers can be used to:​

  • differentiate your work from the work of other author's with similar names and accommodate any variations in the way you represent your name across your scholarly publications
  • locate metrics such as citation counts and your H-index for all your publications and
  • make your work more discoverable to the world.

Contact your Librarian for assistance to create an ORCiD, Researcher ID, to review your Scopus ID, and to integrate your current Identifiers with your ORCID iD.

Check out our Researcher Profile Information on our website to find out more about creating your ORCID iD and other researcher profiles.

Compare researcher identifiers

ORCID iD ORCID is an open, non-profit and community-driven scheme. Researchers register and create their own profile by adding publications and/or linking to other author identity profiles. ACU Library recommends that researchers register for an ORCID.
Scopus author identifier Created for you by Scopus if you have publications indexed in that database. Search for yourself in Scopus to see if you have this ID.
ResearcherID Assigns a unique ID number to each registered researcher. Researchers must create and maintain their own profile by adding details of their publications, via the Web of Science database. Recommended if you have publications in Web of Science.
Google Scholar Citations Profile Set up a profile via your Google account. A Google Scholar Profile will display a limited set of metrics as calculated by publications in Google Scholar.

What is ORCID? video from ORCID on Vimeo.

Author Responsibilities


Create: Researcher Profile to ensure you receive credit for YOUR work

Save: the authors accepted version (post print) of your manuscript to archive and promote your research in Research Bank

Contact: your Librarian for support

Publication strategy and journal selection

A strategic approach to selecting a journal will increase the likelihood that your article is accepted.

You can find out more about our publication strategies and where to publish, including selection tools, on the Research section of the Library website.

The peer review process

The peer review process is a form of quality assurance. During this process, experts in your field consider the merits of your work. They provide journal editors with an impartial decision about whether or not to publish, as well as how to improve an article already accepted for publication.

Methods of peer review

Method Description Discipline usage
Single-blind review

The reviewers know who the authors are, but the authors do not know who the reviewers are.

Commonly used in science disciplines
Double-blind review The reviewers do not know who the authors are, and the authors do not know who the reviewers are.  Common in Humanities & Social Sciences
Open review The reviewers are publicly known and the reviews are transparent (can be viewed). *This should not be confused with post-publication peer review where anyone can contribute to the peer review process. Used across disciplines

This diagram from Taylor and Francis online represents the typical double-blind peer review process:

The double-blind peer review process can be explain in the following steps:

  1. An editor receives a paper
  2. The editor checks the paper fits the journal's aims and scope.
  3. The editor selects reviewers (usually 2-3 of your peers) and they are sent the paper.
  4. The reviewers review the paper and provide the editor with comments, suggestions and a recommendation (reject, revise or accept).
  5. The editor checks the reviews and sends them to the author(s), with any additional guidance. If there are revisions, the author(s) decide whether to make these and re-submit.
  6. Amendments are made and the paper is re-submitted.
  7. The review process may start again, but otherwise the paper is accepted, moves into production and then publication.


Measuring the impact of your research has many benefits to you and to your research. Citation metrics are a common measurement for your research.

Visit our the Research section of the Library website for information on Research Impact.

Contact your Librarian for Research Impact support.

Citation FAQs

How do I find who is citing my articles?

Search a citation database for your article. There will be a 'Cited by' link, or similar, which will provide details about the number of times your article has been cited, where and by whom.

It is useful to search more than one database, as citation data is collected only from the articles contained in that database. If a citing article is not in the database you are searching, its citation data may not be included.

How do I find the highly cited articles in my field?

Sort the results of a search by the number of citations each result has received. This allows you to search for articles in a particular subject area, and then have the most highly cited works display at the top of your results list.

How do I track citations of my work over time?

Citation databases allow you to place citation alerts on articles so that you will be notified when they receive a new citation. Although the procedure may be slightly different in each database, the general principles are the same:

  1. Locate the record of the article you want to add as a citation alert.
  2. Create a Citation Alert for the specified article.


Why do different databases retrieve different results?

The citation data will relate only to articles indexed within the database. Variation may occur because different databases:

  • Index different publication sources (eg journals, books, etc)
  • Cover different date ranges and
  • Include poor-quality data (duplicate records, misspelt citations etc).


Can citation data be used to compare or benchmark articles?

It is important to ensure citation data is being used to compare like with like:

  • Different disciplines have different citing behaviour and patterns. Compare articles from within the same discipline.
  • Document age influences the number of citations it has, or is likely to receive. Compare articles published within the same time period.


Creating an author profile in Web of Science

Accessing a Scopus citation overview