This guide is a resource to help you research information for your assessments. You need to be able to find information from a wide variety of sources while at university as well as when you work professionally a communication specialist. Please Note: for Deakin College Students go to this page to access your resources.
In this guide you will learn about:
Watch the video below for an overview of the content on this guide.
For university assignments it is important that you explore a wide variety of information. These will include academic sources such as books and journal articles, reports from government and industry as well as newspaper articles.
Click on the buttons below to see a description and example of a range of information sources. These may also be a great starting point for theory, models and debates which underpin public relations and communications practice.
The library provides a wealth of resources as well as great advice to help you succeed at Uni. The library subscribes to many credible and scholarly resources that you cannot access via the internet so its important to get to know your library. It will save you time in the long run.
The list below is a quick overview of library services and information and where to find them on the library's home page.
Research is not as simple as putting your search words into Google and expecting it to find exactly what you need. You need to plan your information search first. A small amount of time now will save you time and frustration later.
Here are the steps:
Before starting your search, plan how you will document your search. This will help you plan your search properly and remember the techniques and will save you time in the long run.
Download the planner below and follow the steps to create your own search strategy.
This sounds obvious, but to begin searching you must be clear about the topic of your research or assignment.
If this is for an assessment, ensure you review your assessment instructions. You may already have received a topic, a statement or clues to guide your search. Write down your summary and check that it's clear and focused.
Example: Locate background information on the issue of e-waste and attitudes to e-waste using industry, government, NGO and media sources.
Now highlight, underline or circle the keywords or main concepts in your summary. These words can help you build your search strategy and may even be found in your assignment topic or question. You will need to update your key word list as your understanding of the topic grows. But to start, list single words or short phrases.
Keywords example: Locate background information on the issue of e-waste and attitudes to e-waste using industry, government, NGO and media sources.
Different people use different words to discuss the same concept, keyword or issue. So you need to think of alternative search words for each keyword. These can be synonyms, related words, abbreviations, acronyms and other words that are specific to your topic. Close reading of first results can also help you identify different terms and words. Be methodical and write these down. You could also look up synonyms using a thesaurus such as as Webster's Thesaurus.
Alternative search words example:
|Key concept||Additional words|
|e-waste||electronic waste, recyclable waste|
|attitudes||opinions, beliefs, perceptions, behaviours|
|background||history, government policy|
Now you need to search using these words
For example in the topic Public awareness of e-waste harm
The keywords and structure of a search in the library's advanced page could look like this
Once you’ve planned your research ideas, it’s time to find out where to head and how to use relevant resources for you.
Library databases are great resources for older as well as current newspaper articles or TV content. Here are some useful databases to search:
Valuable and reliable information can be gained through the publications of local councils and state and federal governments on policy, statistics and legislation. These can be found on government department websites.
This video demonstrates how to use google advance to enhance your search
Consider using these resources to get started researching companies and industries
Mumbrella is a website covering of everything under Australia’s media and marketing umbrella.
Watch this video to learn how to find books in the library.
The range and volume of information out there can be overwhelming. Developing a critical eye for evaluating the information that you find is an important skill to develop at university. And it is not just important for your university assessments - this critical thinking skill will set you apart in the workplace too.
CRAAP is a useful set of criteria. Click on the tabs below to discover some questions you can use when evaluating any type of information.
Referencing is a necessary part of academic writing because it:
Universities use standardised styles to do this. One of these, called Harvard, is used extensively in the Arts and Education faculty.
There are two elements of Harvard style:
To keep track of library resources you have found, use these tools found in the library record:
At university, your assessors will expect you to show correct referencing practice. Don't worry though, there is lots of helpful information and examples in the Deakin Guide to Referencing.
Below is an example of a Deakin Harvard reference for a journal article. The reference contains different parts arranged in a set order. Drag the slider left and right to discover the names for the different parts of this reference.