Communication, Media and Journalism: COMM 1083: Social Media and Society

Assignment Help


This help page will get you started in finding scholarly resources for COMM 1083: Social Media and Society

This introductory Library video covers:

  • The Library's facilities and resources and how to get help
  • Planning your search effectively 
  • Searching for peer-reviewed literature in the Library Collection, databases and Google Scholar


Plan your search

  Identify keywords

Taking time to plan your search will save you time and help you find information more efficiently.

  1.  Identify the main concepts/keywords in your research question
  2.  Think of any relevant synonyms (similar concepts) for each concept
  3.  Connect your concepts together using boolean operators (AND and OR) to form a search

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

For example, if your topic is Discuss the role of social media in disinformation campaigns you might identify the following main concepts and relevant synonyms:

Key concepts Synonyms or alternative concepts
social media

social network, social platforms, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube...

disinformation campaign disinformation, smear campaign, conspiracy theories, propaganda, fake news, biased, false...

Tip: As you search you may find more alternative words to include in searches.

   Connect your keywords

Once you have identified your keywords and found alternative keywords, you need to connect these to put your search together.

Use the following operator words, which most search tools will have, to indicate how you want the tool to search for your keywords:

  • OR: Combines similar keywords
  • AND: Combines different keywords

Remember to use "quotation marks" to keep phrases together.

For example:

("social media" OR Twitter OR Facebook) AND "disinformation campaign"

 Want to know more?

Peer reviewed journals

  What are peer reviewed/scholarly sources?

It is likely that at some point in your studies you will be asked to find 'scholarly', 'peer reviewed', or 'academic' sources.

What does this mean? These terms are often used interchangebly, but they are not always the same thing. Scholarly or Academic is an umbrella term used for different kinds of authoritative and credible sources including:

  • articles from journals (including peer reviewed journals)
  • academic books
  • grey literature - e.g. government reports

Peer reviewed (refereed) journals are of high quality. Each article has gone through an evaluation process with experts in the field before being published.

 Want to know more?


   Where should you search?

Knowing where to search is just as important as knowing how to search.  Watch the Choosing where to search video (2:30) to help you to understand why and when to use different search tools.

Select an option below to learn more about different places to search.


   Library Collection

The Library Collection is a good place to start your search for scholarly material. You can use it to find eBooks, journal articles, reports, videos and more.

Quick tips to get you started:

  • Try a topic search e.g. "social media" AND "disinformation campaign"
  • Use the filters under 'Tweak my Results' to find exactly what you need.
    • Narrow by Format type: Book or Articles or Media
    • Find scholarly journal articles by selecting: Show Only > Peer-reviewed journals
    • Narrow your search by a Date range



Databases are online collections of resources including articles, papers, book chapters and reports. Databases have advanced search options, helping to focus your search and find more relevant, scholarly references quickly.

Find statistics

Find news media

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

See the News Media guide for more information

Want to know more?

Read: How to Save Time Searching Databases (PDF)


   Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches only within academic or scholarly sites, rather than the whole internet. Search Google Scholar directly from the Library homepage.

Want to know more?

Visit the library's Searching for your Literature Review Guide for videos and tips.
Practise using Google Scholar with our Interactive Tutorial (10 min.)


   Evaluate your sources

It is important to evaluate the information you find. Watch this short video (3:17) and, for more information, view the Evaluate page.

Further assignment help

The Student Engagement Unit has created a suite of resources called Study Help that can help you understand different assignment types and study skills.

There is also a Writing your assignment page that can also assist you with interpreting your topic and planning your search

Studiosity offers assistance with academic writing, referencing, maths, business studies and more. Use the online chat or submit work for feedback.

Referencing support

Need help referencing? Follow the roadmap!

Referencing Roadmap (Harvard)
Help with the Harvard UniSA referencing style. Find in text-citations and reference examples, from different sources such as articles, books & chapters, websites, and more.

Other referencing support tools:

  • Referencing hub
    Information around what is referencing, paraphrasing, referencing rules, referencing styles and Academic Integrity. Also includes a link to the Harvard Referencing Guide UniSA (pdf).
  • Referencing forum
    Discuss referencing, exchange advice and post questions and answers about referencing (facilitated by Student Engagement Unit).

What do you do with all those references you have found?

Use a bibliographic management software to store, organise and cite your references. The Library supports the bibliographic management tool EndNote. There are also many free systems available.

Watch Managing Your References to decide which tool is best for you to get started.  

Library help