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This Assignment Help guide will assist you in finding information for your assignments in CREA 5001: Research Practices (Creative). Please refer to your Course Outline and learnonline site for full assessment information.

You may also find the following guides and pages useful for this course:

Check out our full range of subject guides here.

Understanding the research cycle

Searching in the literature is an essential skill. When undertaking a research project, you will need to consult the literature throughout the research cycle. The Searching for your literature review guide can help you to understand this process more comprehensively.

Explore the research cycle diagram below for more information. Click the plus (+) icons to learn more.

Diagram adapted with permission. Created by Deb Moulton, Learning Advisor, Teaching Innovation Unit, UniSA.

Develop your question

Before you start searching the literature, you should consider your research question(s).

Strategies for getting started

1. Identify a broad topic area of interest to help you start thinking about what you might want to research.

2. Do some preliminary searches and background reading to discover more about your topic area including whether it is appropriate, gaps and terminology used.

3. Focus your topic into a research question. Ask who, what, when, why and how questions.

  • Who does this affect?
  • What do people think about this?
  • When is the best time to do this?
  • Why is this important?
  • How does this work or how can this be fixed?

Make sure your question is:


  • Can you investigate or measure it? Is it an actual question and not just a statement?
  • What is your time frame? How much time you have will determine how comprehensive your search is.
  • Can your research be framed as a problem, hypothesis or objectives and aims?


  • Consider wording carefully. Will your audience understand exactly what you are researching?
  • Remember, every word has nuanced meaning and slight changes in wording can change the meaning of your research question.


  • Your question needs to be manageable. Too broad and you will have trouble answering it. Too narrow and you will not have enough to explore. Getting the balance just right can take time.


  • Are you interested in the topic?
  • Is there an audience for it?

Adapted from the video Developing a research question, produced by the University of Melbourne.

Plan your search step by step

Developing a comprehensive search strategy is an iterative (circular) process. Once you uncover what you wish to investigate, scoping searching can be used to find key terminology surrounding the topic. Searches are then adapted and rerun to refine the search strategy. 

This process is explained in the following graphic. Click the plus (+) icons to learn more.

View the resource How to plan your search (PDF) for more information on how to combine and connect search terms using OR, AND, and NOT.

Test your knowledge

Understand research methods

Sage Research Methods is a comprehensive online collection of resources which you can access through the Library. You can explore methodological concepts to help you design your research project, understand a particular research method or identify a new method, and write up your research. Discover full text books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, journal articles and videos on how to create your research project and different research methodologies.

The SAGE Research Methods Map can be used to explore the research methods terrain, read definitions of key terminology, and discover content relevant to your research methods journey.

Screenshot of the SAGE interactive research methods map. The central concept 'Research methods' is shown with narrower terms extending off from it.

If you wish to explore further, the following library resources expand on research methods and methodologies in the area of creative studies:

Where to search

Where you search will be informed by what you are trying to find out. Once you've built a search strategy, you can apply it in search tools. Check out this video on Choosing where to search (2 min 31 sec).

Library collection

The Library Collection can be a good place to start searching for scholarly material. Remember, books can be useful for getting background information or an overview of your topic.

Use the advanced search to split your concepts on to different rows.

A link to a Library collection advanced search (search filters: "visual perception" OR "visual fluency" OR vision AND environment OR "natural landscapes" OR nature).


Use Refine my results on the left hand side to narrow your results. The following are useful refinements to try:

  • Show Only - Full Text Online
  • Resource Type - Book chapters
  • Publication Date - limit to the last 10 years

For more advice on searching the collection, watch: How to search the Library catalogue (video, 1 min 48 sec)


Databases are organised collections of published and grey literature. They can include publications such as journal articles, book chapters, reports and conference papers, and consist of full text publications, bibliographic records only, or a mixture of both.

Databases can be discipline specific, such as medical, art, engineering or business databases, or multidisciplinary, covering all subject areas.

The following databases may be useful for your assignment:

  • ProQuest art design and architecture collection
    This ProQuest collection is a comprehensive survey of current publications in the fields of visual and applied arts.
  • Humanities & social sciences collection
    This multidisciplinary collection provides broad subject coverage, especially regarding Aboriginal and indigenous studies, arts, history, law, literary studies, media, political science and sociology.
  • Kanopy
    This on-demand streaming video service includes award-winning documentaries, training films and theatrical releases across diverse subjects and disciplines.

Browse all databases in the Library catalogue by category or alphabetically.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches only within academic or scholarly sites, rather than the whole internet. By accessing Google Scholar from within the Library website, you will be able to directly access articles that the Library has access to by clicking on the Full-text at UniSA link. Use the Google Scholar link from the Library website for best access to full-text references.


Google Scholar refers to grey literature in the broad sense of information found outside the recognised databases. It primarily searches academic papers so results are not necessarily grey literature. Results can include:

  • journal and conference papers
  • theses and dissertations
  • academic books
  • pre-prints
  • abstracts
  • technical reports
  • patents; and
  • court opinions

Works are from academic publishers, professional societies and university repositories, as well as scholarly articles available anywhere across the web. Many government documents are indexed from the publisher site not the government site.

Want to know more?


BrowZine allows you to easily access and browse journals available online via UniSA. Access via Library homepage > Journals.

Grey literature

You may need to search for both published literature and unpublished (grey) literature.

Why search for grey literature?

Grey literature:

  • introduces alternative perspectives
  • may be the only source of information (where there is little published evidence)
  • overcomes or minimises publication/reporting bias
  • can be essential in emerging, changing or interdisciplinary research areas
  • may find unique information not found elsewhere, especially in emerging research areas
  • complements published research and fills in the research gaps
  • can contain more local information

The Analysis and Policy Observatory (APO) is a research collection and alerting service to the latest information for public policy development and implementation. Find full text research reports, papers, submissions, statistics and more. The APO's Cultural Policy and Creative Industries Collection has a focus on the cultural and creative sector. 

Want to know more? 

Explore the Grey literature and other sources guide


Here are some suggested resources for you to explore to find artefacts for your assessment. 

UniSA Special Collections

The Library is responsible for several Special Collections, which provide a rich source of information on Australia's political, social, and public health history. The Special Collections include published and unpublished material in print, audiovisual, and digital formats, with a particular focus on South Australia and prominent South Australians. Some of the Collections are collected around a topic or theme, others have been collected by a person or organisation.

Access a Collection

Explore each collection through their individual guides or by search through the Special Collections catalogue.

While some material has been digitised and is available online, most material is in a physical form. To arrange an appointment to view the Collections, contact Ask the Library.

A few relevant collections are:


  • Trove (National Library of Australia)
    Search across the collections of Australian cultural institutions such as libraries, galleries, archives, and museums for a wide variety of material including books, theses, reports, images, maps, conference proceedings, archived websites, historical newspapers and more.

Read about the Trove Advanced search function or watch the webinar Introduction to Trove searching (23 min 31 sec), developed by the NAA (2022). 

Another great place to look at for finding primary sources is the Archival Research guide.

Finding theses

Why look for existing theses?

  • Ensure that your topic has not been, or is not being, investigated by another researcher
  • Gain knowledge of other related research in your area of study
  • Discover the research that has preceded your topic
  • Explore methodologies and layouts used by other researchers in your field

Have a look at our online guide on Theses. This guide will help you to search databases to find theses and find exemplars.

Referencing support

Managing your references

What do you do with all those references you have found? Use a bibliographic management software to store, organise and cite your references.

There are many free systems available. The Library supports the bibliographic management tool EndNote. For more information, see the EndNote guide.

Study support

The Study Help hub has tools to help you with your assignments, including advice on writing, presenting, and organising your ideas.

A snapshot of the Study Help hub, which contains sections on assignments, referencing, study skills, quizzes and exams, English and Maths, and workshops.


Other study support tools

  • Studiosity
    An ‘online classroom’, where you can chat with a learning adviser. The associated 'Check Mate' service helps with English, writing and referencing.
  • LinkedIn Learning
    An online library of high-quality instructional videos on the the use of the latest software, tools and skills, with over 4,000 courses.
  • Workshops and seminars
    A range of research workshops are available to improve your knowledge of research.

Ask the Library for help via live chat, phone, email, or access our suite of self-help resources.