Communication, Media and Journalism: UO COMM 2090: Communication Research Methods Assignment 1.2

Assignment help

Theoretical Reflection

1. What you need to do

This page will help you  find research articles from communication journals and information about different research methodologies. 

For assessment 1.2 you are required to:

  • identify and summarise one research method from the course
  • find a research article that applies the same method and
  • summarise the findings of the article and articulate how the method was used, analysing and evaluating its applications and limitations

Check your Course website and Course Outline for more information about the assessment requirements.

2. What is an academic source?

You need to find research-based (academic) sources which includes peer reviewed journal articles. 

Want to Know More?

Read: How to find scholarly sources (PDF)
Watch Study Help: Scholarly sources Explained (2.22)


Peer reviewed (refereed) journals include articles that are evaluated by experts in the field before being published.

You can check if a journal is peer reviewed by going to the journal's website and checking their peer review policy or using the database Ulrichsweb.

To search Ulrichsweb you can type the name or ISSN of the journal into the search box.

Look for the peer review icon of a referee jacket Refereed to see if your journal is peer reviewed.

3. Where to search


Try searching library databases for relevant academic sources.

Databases are search tools for finding articles, papers, reports and more. Find databases by browsing the database list then refining on the left by Communication.

Two useful databases you should become familiar with are:


Journals are publications similar to magazines. They have issues published regularly (e.g. monthly) and focus on a particular subject. Articles in academic journals should be well researched, include references and be written by experts in that area.

You can find communication journals in the Library collection to browse using the tool BrowZine. Open BrowZine by selecting:

Remember: the articles need to come from a journal that is pure communications, public relations, sociology or media - not articles where communication approaches have been applied in another field.

Not sure if it is a peer reviewed communication journal? Go to the journal website to find out more about the journal's aim, audience and peer review policy.


Check here for a list of prestigious academic journals in Communications and Media:

4. How to search

Here is an example search in SAGE journals: Communication and Media studies.

1. Select Search from the top of the page, under the search box select Advanced Search.

2. Add a different concept (keyword) in each new line.

3. Apply limits by by using the refining options to the right of the results:

  • ARTICLE TYPE > Research Article

4. Select a title to take you to the article, from the left Article Menu select Method to check the method used.

Here is an example search in ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection.

1. Select Advanced Search from top of page.

2. Add different concepts (keywords) in each new line using the connector AND.

3. Apply limits by by using the refining options to the left of the results:

  • Peer reviewed
  • Publication date

4. Select Get full text to access the article, use Ctrl+F to search article for "method", look through the results to check the method used.

If you are not finding what you want:
  • Change your search concepts or try a different database.
  • Add any synonyms to your search using the connector OR.
  • Use truncation to find different word endings. Find out more here: How to save time searching databases.

5. How to find research methods

Your textbook includes a lot of information about research methods:

Weerakkody, Niranjala Damayanthi 2015, Research Methods for Media and Communication, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria.

You can also find information about different communication research methods using the following database:

To find information about research methods:

1. Enter your search terms in the Search box at the top of the page.

Try searching generally for communication research methods.

Alternatively, you can search for the research method you want to explore.

2. Apply limits using the Refine options menu to the right of your results. Try limiting by:

  • Content type
  • Publication date

Want to Know More?

Watch SAGE Research Methods Overview (2.08)

6. Evaluate what you have found

Is what you have located relevant and reliable? Are you uncertain whether to use the information you have found? Always critically evaluate what you find:

When evaluating information you can use the CRAAP test:

Currency How current does the information need to be? Do you need to use information published in the last five years or are older, seminal works fine to use?
Relevance Does the information found answer your question? Do you understand the content and is it at the right level for your purpose?
Authority What are the author's qualifications? Are they linked to a particular organisation such as a university, research institute or government department?
Accuracy Is evidence given for the research undertaken? Can you verify the information presented by using other sources? Is there a bibliography or references given?
Purpose Is it trying to communicate research, persuade you or sell you something? It is expressing an opinion, or is it balanced and objective?

7. Summarise and critique your article

Critical thinking is an essential part of taking a scholarly approach to learning. It involves analysing and questioning information you receive to arrive at logical, well-reasoned conclusions.

The following resources from  Study Help will assist you in understanding and developing your critical thinking and analysing skills needed for your assignment. 

Watch: Critical Thinking (Study Skills) (Warwick University: 2.25)
Review: Critical Thinking (Monash University)
Review: Critical Thinking (University of Leeds)

5. Referencing Support

Referencing Roadmap (Harvard)
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.  

9. More help

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