Engineering: Southern Space Program

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This page will help you get started on your research project for the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program

Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program guide. It will help in your research endeavours and familiarise you with resources and services available.

Start here

Planning your search strategy is key to getting the most out of your search results. Watch the following video to help you get started.

Video Length: 2:26

   Key points from the video
  •  Searching for your whole research question is not very effective
  • Start by identifying the main ideas (key concepts) in your question or topic
  • Think about what other words (synonyms or alternative terms) might be used to describe key concepts
  • Connect your concepts using AND and OR to form a search strategy
  • You can change your search as you find more information
   Read for more help

Plan your search: steps

  Step 1: Identify keywords

Typing your question into Google or the Library Collection is not the best way to search.

Mapping out your search can be a good place to start:

  • Identify the keywords (main concepts) in the assignment question. These are the words which give meaning to the question, the main ideas
  • Remove task words (also known as instruction words) from your search. These words tell you what to do with the key concepts (e.g. analyse, compare, discuss)

How can space assets help fight bushfires?

  Step 2: Consider alternative keywords

Use the course readings, an encyclopedia, dictionary, or reliable websites to understand your topic and find synonyms or alternative keywords.

Do some basic initial searching using the keywords you've already identified to see what other words are used in the papers you find. Create a mindmap or table to help you brainstorm.

space assets bushfires



   Step 3: 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 to broaden your search bushfires OR wildfires
AND Combines different keywords to narrow your search space AND bushfires

Excludes words from the search

Use cautiously and only when necessary or you might exclude results you actually want

bushfires NOT wildfires

Remember to use "quotation marks" to keep phrases together and (brackets) to keep synonyms together.

   Test your knowledge

Where to search

Knowing where to search is just as important as knowing how to search.  The following video will help you to understand why and when to use different search tools.

 Video Length: 2:14

   Key points from the video
  • Searching for your whole assignment is not very effective
  • Identify the key concepts in your question or topic
  • Think about what other words (similar words or alternative terms) might be used to describe the key concepts
  • Connect your concepts using AND and OR
  • You can change your search as you find more information
  • Not all search tools will give you access to the same information.
  • Understanding why and when to use different search tools will save you time.
  • Some types of specific information are best found using a search engine or specific website.
  • All resources need to be evaluated before using them.
   Read: How to find scholarly sources
undefined   Watch: Scholarly sources explained (2.22)

Option: Library Collection and Google Scholar

   Search the 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.

Using "Refine my results" menu to refine your search to find exactly what you need.

undefined   Watch: How to search the Library Collection (1.47)
   Search 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 link directly to articles that the library has access to by clicking on the Full-text at UniSA link. Use the Google Scholar search on the Library website (next to the Library Collection search) for best access to full-text references.

Option: Databases

   Search databases

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 relevant, scholarly references quickly.

   Read: How to save time searching databases

Option: International Space University (ISU)

   Search International Space University resources

 The International Space University Librarians have created the below subject guides and reading lists consisting of databases, full-text sources, websites and more.

Option: Journals


   Evaluate your resources

While you are finding references, you need to think about whether they are appropriate to use in your assignment.  You may be asked to use Scholarly or Peer Reviewed material to support your arguments. 

You should evaluate all resources  before including them in your assignment - even if you found them through the Library Collection or Databases.

   Key points from the video
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?
   Read: Critically analysing a website

Putting it together

You may also need to understand the requirements of your assignment. The Student Engagement Unit has created a suite of resources called Study Help that can help you understand different assignment types.

Have a look at:

Within the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program the referencing style you will most likely be asked to use is Harvard-UniSA (please confirm with your course co-ordinator). The Referencing Roadmap (Harvard) is a wonderful resource for helping you to reference accurately in the Harvard-UniSA style.

Ask the Library

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