Accounting: Find resources

Plan your search

Not sure where to begin?

Use the tips below to get you started on the right path

Most people ignore planning and jump straight into searching, yet planning is essential for effective searching.  As part of the planning process consider:

  • What do you already know about the topic?  What do you need to explore further?
  • Use the course readings, a dictionary, glossary or reliable websites to understand your topic.
  • What types of information do you need?  Does it need to be current can you use websites?
  • What relevant theories apply to your topic?
  • Which parts of your argument need references as supporting evidence?
  • Identify key concepts in your topic.  These will help you decide which keywords to use when searching.  Think of synonyms (related keywords) you could also use when searching.

Watch - Study help: Plan your search for tips about choosing keywords and searching for information (2 min 26 sec).

  1. Follow-up on the recommended resources

  2. Go beyond your set readings

  3. Use the most appropriate search tool for what you need to find

  4. Use the terms of others in your searches - what subject terms appear in Catalogue/database record?

  5. Try different combinations of search terms

  6. Searching takes time!

  7. Always evaluate what you find

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Books can provide:

  • definitions
  • overviews
  • step-by-step guides
  • in-depth information on a topic

... and much more comprehensive coverage of a topic than a webpage targeted at the layperson.

Many books in the Library's collection are written or edited by people with expertise in the relevant field.

The Library Catalogue is the best place to begin your search for relevant books.

The Library continually purchases books to support all disciplines and research areas. Many of these are available online.

Catalogue search tips:

  • If you know the exact title type it into the search box and select Title from the drop-down list e.g. "Accounting information and equity valuation theory, evidence and applications" (you only need enough of the title to distinguish it from others)
  • If you are searching for a resource with a common title try adding the author's surname to your search
  • Do a keyword search to find information on a particular topic e.g. "accounting standards"
  • Use the Refine Search options to narrow your search e.g. by Format (e.g. book, media (for audiovisual))
  • Use double quotes for phrases e.g. "south australia"


You can either view ebooks online, or download them to read them later.  To find ebooks in the Library Catalogue conduct your search, then select the Refine Search to Show Only: Full Text Online option and limit to Format Books.

If you would like to download ebooks you'll need to install either an app or ereader, depending of what type of device you're using. Don't worry - they're free and it's easy to do!

You can find information on the software you need and links to the download sites in the Library's ebook guide.

To determine if a book is scholarly, look:

  • for a bibliography and references
  • at author qualifications and affiliations (e.g. are they affiliated with a university or other institution?)
  • for a reputable publisher (e.g. a university press or well known academic publisher)
  • at the scope or depth of the book - is it what you need, and expected at an academic level?
  • research, statistics or data to back up findings
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Journals and journal articles


Journals enable you to keep up to date with the latest - research, trends, events, conferences, projects, theories...and to gain an historical perspective by accessing material published in previous decades.

Journal articles usually focus on a very specific aspect of a topic, and may be the only source of information on that aspect.

UniSA Library subscribes to thousands of journals on behalf of UniSA students and researchers. Most are available as fulltext online from your desktop, laptop or mobile device.

How to find journal articles on a topic

  • Search the Library Catalogue
  • Search a database

The Library Catalogue lets you search inside many journals, but does not cover all relevant publications. It also covers every discipline. If you're looking for something specific to a discipline, it can be faster to go straight to an appropriate database.

Catalogue search tips:

  • To find articles on a subject, type in your keywords and then refine by Format > Articles e.g. accounting AND "planning process"
  • To search for articles from a specific journal, try Advanced Search
  • Use double quotes for phrases e.g. "south australia", "planning process"
  • Use an asterisk * to find alternate word endings e.g. manag* finds manager, managers, management, managing, managerial, etc.


Databases help you to find publications (e.g. journal and newspaper articles, conference papers, book chapters) by a particular author, from a specific publication or on a topic.

They can provide either the full text to a publication or the reference and abstract only.

These databases will help you locate material relevant to  Accounting:

You can find a full listing of accounting databases here

It is important to evaluate the articles that you find.

At University there is the expectation that you will use scholarly material to support your arguments. You may be asked to use peer reviewed journal articles.

To find out more about scholarly or peer-reviewed journals try our How to find peer reviewed journal articles guide.

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Why can't I just Google?

Newspaper articles and conference papers

To find newspaper articles on a particular topic look at the Library databases listed under the News subject heading. These databases contain both Australian and international content and include:

Want to find Accounting related Australian newspaper articles?

Use the NewsBank Newspaper database to search for specific Australian articles by selecting the Australia's Newspapers link. If you know the name of the article you can search for the article by Headline (change from the default option of All Text).

Conference papers and proceedings are..

  • the written version of presentations given at conferences or meetings of professional/scholarly bodies and organisations.
  • a collection of  papers from a specific conference/meeting.
  • generally reviewed by peers and collected together 
    by the editors before being made available.

Conference papers can be a great way... 

  • to find up-to-date information as researches often present their research findings first at conferences.
  • understand research trends and innovations on a specific topic.

There are a number of ways you can search for conference proceedings in the library's collection. Try searching in:

All search options: If you know the title of a specific Conference paper or the name of the Conference you can search using the name. Tip: ensure you enclose the title with quotation marks. i.e "proceedings of the international conference."

Alternatively you can search using keywords related to your topic. To narrow your results add keywords to your search e.g. proceedings, conference or symposium.

You can limit your results in the Library catalogue by selecting 'Format - Conference Proceedings' from the Refine Search menu. 

You can also find conference papers by searching:


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Case studies


Case studies are written accounts that give detailed information about a person, group, or organisation and their development over a period of time, with a view to making generalizations.

Many textbooks and recommended readings contain case studies, and you can also find them in the Library's databases.


How to find case studies in books

You can search for case studies using the Library catalogue:

  • add the phrase "case studies" to your search
  • limit by format/content type eg book or eBook 

Try these Library catalogue searches below to find case studies within books and eBooks.

The Journal of Business Case Studies is an open access journal which allows you to search for case studies across a range of topics, including accounting. All case studies are fully downloadable as pdfs.

Finding case studies in databases

You can search for case studies in the following databases:

You can also add the phrase "case studies" to your database search in other databases to find case study articles.

Try the following searches in the Business Source Complete database to find case study articles or chapters:

  • accounting AND "case studies"
  • auditing AND "case studies"
  • "public finance" AND "case studies"

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Company information

Have a look at our online guide to finding Company and industry information.

This guide will help you search the web, our databases and the Library catalogue for company and industry information, financial information, annual reports, legislation and regulation, media coverage and information on public/private companies.