Communication and Media: Home

Subject Guide for

Communication & Media resources in

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The Library Catalogue can be a good place to start. Use the Catalogue to search across much of the material in the Library's collection.

Depending on what you need to find, and how comprehensive you need to be in your search, you may also need to use specialised databases.

Top tips for the supersearcher

Reflect and planMap [tzunghaor, 'treasure map', CC License: CC0 1.0, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library]"

Planning your search can save time by helping you to find appropriate, relevant material more quickly.

  • What do you already know about your topic? What do you need to explore further
  • Do you need a particular type of information? For example: first-person account or historical overview, policy documents or peer-reviewed articles on the most current research, an early theorist's original writings...? 
  • Define key terms using a subject-specific reference such as a dictionary
  • What relevant theories apply to your topic?
  • A general overview of the topic or an aspect of the topic can be a good starting point - use your readings and reference/introductory books
  • Have tutors, lecturers or other students recommended author names/publication titles?
  • If you need up-to-date facts and figures, try a reliable website
  • Which parts of your argument need references as supporting evidence?

The search terms you use can make a big difference to what you find

  • What are the key concepts/ideas in your topic? The key concepts will help you to decide which 'keywords' to use when searching
  • What alternative terms and synonyms might help to find relevant material? Consider:
    • alternative spellings
    • professional and discipline-specific vocabulary
    • how different people might refer to the same idea (e.g. representation OR portrayal OR depiction)
    • changes in language over time

Defining key terms and reading brief overviews of key aspects (e.g. theories) with which you are unfamiliar will help you to locate appropriate resources and put together your response to an assessment.

The Library has many reference and introductory works. The following are examples.

The collection includes works published in many countries (especially the US, UK and Australia) and various centuries/decades - and which may differ in policy, legislation, culture and other factors. Make sure that the work you are using is appropriate.

Find the 'right' information

Do you need scholarly information? Is what you have located relevant and reliable? Are you uncertain whether to use the information you have found?

These guides will help in locating scholarly information and evaluating what you find.

Evaluating what you find on the web: website focus

Ask yourself a few questions...

[J_Alves, 'Target', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library (]   Who is the site targeted at? Is the site aimed at a general or specialised audience? (What does the language tell you? Is certain knowledge assumed? Are there links to scholarly resources?)
 [Pat Hall, 'Simple Zoom icons', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library (] Is the information detailed enough for your needs? What level of detail is provided?
 [Molumen, 'world map', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library (] Does the information cover your topic in terms of time and place? Does the site offer historical or current information (or both)? Is the information provided local, regional, national or international?
 [clipartlady, 'mask', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library (] Is the author/producer of the information identified? What does the web address tell you? Look for information about the author/producer e.g. on the home page or About us. Are contact details provided?
 [rickvanderzwet, 'mortarboard', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library (] Does the author/producer of the information have the qualifications and/or experience to speak/write on this topic? Is there information about the author's occupation, position, education and/or experience? Look for an author attribution, at the About Us or About this site pages, for an editorial policy or site policy.
 [rickvanderzwet, 'mortarboard', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library (] Does the information come from an 'authoritative' source? Who is responsible for the content of the website? You may need to truncate web addresses to find the site home page. How thoroughly has the information been edited or reviewed? Does the site indicate that material has been prepared or reviewed by experts in the field?
 [Scott Kirkwood, 'scales', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source:] Is the information accurate? How is the information presented - as fact or opinion? If the information is presented as fact can it be checked - are references provided? What kind of language is used? Is the information biased? (Has important information been excluded? Are a range of views represented?). Is the site designed to sell a product or service?
 [Anonymous, 'Architetto - Tabella', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) (, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library (] How recent is the information? Depending upon what you're looking for, currency can be important. Is content given a publication date? Out-of-date links are one sign that a site may be no longer maintained and updated with the latest discoveries, projects etc.

Save and organise your references

Save time by capturing the details of your references.

This will help you to:

  • find resources again
  • put together your bibliographies with the required details
  • create a personal 'library' of references to use throughout your studies and professional practice

Most search tools - including the Library Catalogue, Google Scholar, and databases such as Communication and Mass Media Complete allow you to easily save the details of references of interest. No need to write these down or copy and paste - create your own 'library' of references with a few clicks!Watch the Library video 'Manage your references: tools to help you' [Image source: UniSA Library]

There are tools that will help you do this. Use EndNote or RefWorks to organise your references and create bibliographies.

Before using these tools, you will need to learn the basics of the referencing style (e.g. Harvard UniSA, APA) that you have been asked to use.

Need advice on writing or presenting? Not sure how to organise your ideas

Study Help [Image source: UniSA]

  • Assignments - how to approach different types of assignments e.g. essays, reports, case studies, literature reviews
  • Discipline-specific resources for the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Referencing forum - a place for all UniSA students to discuss referencing, share questions and answers, and ask for advice from Learning Advisers

The Library collection also includes many resources on academic writing and study skills - example search

Unsure when it's appropriate to cite, how to paraphrase, or determine what is 'common knowledge'?

Take a look at this interactive tutorial Eastern Michigan University Library:

'Understanding Plagiarism' [Eastern Michigan University Library interactive tutorial, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0]


Related guides

You may find these other UniSA Subject Guides of interest:

Politics and International Relations | Marketing | Psychology | Media Arts

Ask the Library

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Spotlight on

Referencing Harvard-UniSA style

 'Roadmap to referencing', Jason Grant, 2013 [Image source: UniSA Library]