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HUMS 2037: Major essay - Case study

For this assignment, you are required to collect data and to analyse the data you collect by integrating existing literature and theoretical approaches. This guide will offer some suggestions on where to collect your data and find supporting literature.

Collecting data

   Primary and secondary data

This assignment requires you to collect your own primary data to analyse. To learn more about the differences between primary and secondary data, see the resource produced by Deakin University below.


What's inside the treasure Trove

Everything you would find on a visit to a library or museum can be found in Trove. It brings together billions of pieces of information from Australian libraries, universities, museums, galleries and archives.

Digital copies

Search for digital copies of newspapers, Government Gazettes, maps, magazines and newsletters. Or books, pictures, photographs, archived websites, music and interviews, Even information about famous Australians, including copies of letters, diaries and personal archives.

Physical versions

Search Trove to locate books and other physical items held in libraries and organisations around Australia.

Want to know more?

Watch TROVE - Advance Search (1min 32)
   Archival research guide

Archival Research Guide banner

Want to know more about archival research? This guide will:

  • showcase key Australian archives,
  • help you develop basic archival research skills, and
  • provide you with a basic overview of copyright issues to consider when using archives.
   Oral history

Guides and information


Please see the following resource from UNSW for some additional ideas on where to gather data:

Explore research methods

   SAGE 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.

One tool from SAGE research methods that will be especially helpful for this assignment is the Project Planner. The project planner guides you through all stages of your research project (including the data collection phase).

 Video Length: 2 minutes 7 seconds

Searching for literature: plan your search

Planning your search helps you find information more efficiently.

Start by:

  •  Identifying the main concepts in your research question
  •  Thinking of any alternative concepts or synonyms 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 your topic is a 'Historical analysis of clothing items such as jeans and shoes with a focus on race and class', you could do:

Main concepts

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3


(similar concepts)





Tip: As you search, you may come across more concepts or synonyms you can incorporate. Don't be afraid to change or modify your search as you go.

Watch or read the below for more information on how to put together a search using operators:

More help

Watch Plan your search  (2 min 26)
Read: How to plan your search (pdf)
View the Writing your assignment page for more info on interpreting your topic and planning your search

Searching for literature: Understanding boolean operators

Boolean operators (connectors) are what you use to connect your search concepts together to form different search strategies.

The below table summarises how they work:

Boolean operator What it does Example
  • Finds less results when concepts are combined with AND 
History AND clothing
  • Broadens your search
  • Includes results that use different terminology
clothing OR jeans OR shoes
Search strategy: (Historical OR History) AND (Cloth OR Jeans OR shoes) AND (race OR class)

Searching for literature: where to search

Once you've built a search strategy, you can apply it in search tools. Check out this video on Choosing where to search and the example searches below.

   Library Collection

The Library Collection is a great place to start finding information. 

Too many search results? Use the Refine my Results menu (on the left hand side) to refine your search.

  • Limit to articles from Peer-Reviewed Journals
  • Limit by Publication Date e.g 2016 to 2021

Want to know more?

Watch How to search the Library Collection (1min 48)
Practice with Learn to search the Library Collection (15min Interactive Tutorial)
   Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches within academic or scholarly sites, rather than the whole internet. Access via the Library for full text at UniSA links to resources held in the collection.

Want to Know More?

Practice using Google Scholar with our Interactive Tutorial  (10 min.)
Watch Why use Google Scholar (2 min 13)
Watch Advanced Google Scholar search (1 min 22)

Databases are search tools for finding articles, conference papers, reports and more. We also have specialised databases containing newspaper articles, images, films and movies.

You can find databases by title or browse by subject list for example Humanities> Cultural Studies

  • NewsBank Newspapers – Includes national and international titles.
  • Multidisciplinary databases – Also try searching some of the library's multidisciplinary databases which cover a wide range of subjects.
  • Humanities & Social Sciences Collection (via Informit)– Multidisciplinary database focused on Australia and New Zealand history and contemporary society.
  • Cambridge Histories – Provides full text online access to the complete 250-plus volumes of Cambridge Histories reference series. Provides political, economic and social history, philosophy and literature of selected countries and subjects
  • AustLit – Information about Australian authors and their work, covering a broad variety of literary forms (e.g. autobiography, poetry, interview, short story, novel, essay, lyric/song). Excellent coverage of Australian Indigenous authors.
  • JSTOR – Search and view historical and current content of core scholarly journals and books in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Browsing by subject is available.

Peer reviewed resources

Peer reviewed (refereed) journals are of a high quality and must go through an evaluation process with experts in the field before being published.  The terms scholarly and academic are sometimes used instead.undefined

When searching the Library Collection, peer reviewed articles are indicated with a purple icon.  You can also use the "Refine my Search" menu to show only Peer Reviewed articles in your search results.

Alternatively, 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.

Want to Know More?

View the 'How To' guide Find Scholarly Sources (PDF)
Watch Scholarly Sources Explained (2 min 22)

Study help

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

Take a look at: