Communication, Media and Journalism: COMM 1062 Journalism: Principles and Practices

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COMM 1062 Journalism: Principles and Practices


This help page will get you started in finding material to include in Assessment 2 - Essay.

You will need to choose one of the topics provided. The essay must be based on your wider academic research and reading on your chosen topic. 

Always read the assessments information in your course website and outline to understand exactly what you need to do.

Developing your search plan

Begin your search plan by breaking down your topic into keywords.

For example, lets' look at topic two - Objectivity, or not? 

"With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as objective journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms." Hunter S Thompson (1937-2005), US journalist, author and founder of gonzo journalism. 

Develop an argument that either agrees or disagrees with the above quote and discuss it within the context of contemporary journalism. Use the academic literature and actual examples from the news media to argue a particular position.

1. Find the task word(s) in your question. For example:

  • "develop an argument that either agrees or disagrees...."

2. Find the content words in your question. 

  • agree or disagree
    • there is no such thing as objective journalism

3.  Find the parameters for your search

  • Context words - how are you going to frame your search? you might want to add some of the following term in your search:
    • contemporary journalism

Planning your search will help you find information more efficiently. Start by:

  •  Identifying the main concepts in your research question.
  •  Thinking of any relevant synonyms (similar concepts) for each concept.
  •  Connecting your concepts together using boolean (AND and OR) to form a search.

A table or mindmap can be a useful strategy for doing this. 

For example, if you are researching 'objective journalism in contemporary journalism', you could do:

Main concepts

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3
contemporary journalism

Synonyms (similar concepts)



mass media

news media







Tip: As you search add concepts you come across to include in searches.

Start your search

Now you need to put these keywords together and build a search and develop your search criteria.

Remember use these to build your search criteria:

  • OR connects similar words like objectivity OR ethics
  • AND connects different concepts together like journalism AND objectivity
  • "speech marks" let you search for a phrase - it locks the words together like "mass media"

After you build up a search strategy, you can start to apply them in search tools, such as the example searches below.

The Library Catalogue can be a useful starting point in locating information. 

To do a search, try using:

  • double quotes "...." for phrases. This keeps concepts together.
  • truncation* to find the plural and other forms of a word

Use the Tweak my results menu to limit your results:

  •  Peer-reviewed Journal publications 
  •  Publication date eg 2015 to 2020


Search a database when you are not finding relevant results via the Catalogue, want to explore further, or in order to restrict your results to a specific discipline, topic area or material type. Here is an example search in ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection.

1. Select the Advanced Search option (top). Add a different concept (keyword) in each new line using the connector AND.

2. Add any synonyms (similar concepts) to each line using the connector OR. This will broaden your search.

3. Focus your search further by using the options to the left of the results:

  • Scholarly Journals
  • Publication date

Google Scholar

Try Google Scholar to find scholarly information. An advantage of Google Scholar is that it provides access to the full text of many UniSA scholarly (academic) articles if you connect via the link above, or from the Library home page.

The Advanced Scholar Search option gives more flexibility when you search. To access it select the menu (three lines) in the top left hand corner of Google Scholar. This menu will appear once you do an initial search in Google Scholar.

Here is an example:

Key news databases

You will need to use "actual examples from the news media to argue a particular position". You can search news within the news databases below. 

NewsBank Newspapers                                          
Australian & New Zealand newsstream
Informit EduTV
​ TV News

Peer reviewed journals

Peer reviewed (refereed) journals are of high quality and can be used to support the argument that you are presenting. Articles in peer reviewed journals must go through an evaluation process with experts in the field before being published.

The terms scholarly and academic are also sometimes used to indicate quality journals.

Watch the following video to learn more:

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