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What you need to do

For this assignment, you will draw on your research from your annotated bibliography to produce either one of the following:

  • An essay
  • A video essay

Remember to always read the Course Outline and LearnOnline site for the full assessment instructions and marking criteria. 

Understand your task

   What is an essay?

The purpose of an academic essay is to present your point of view, sometimes known as a position or argument, on a particular topic.

An academic essay:

  • Is a persuasive piece of writing that analyses a topic and persuades a reader that the point of view presented is correct, and
  • Is developed, explained and supported using evidence from experts based on reliable and academic sources which are all acknowledged using a referencing system.
   What is a video essay?

Just like a written essay, a video essay presents an argument. However, video essays present the argument through a combination of different media forms such as video, audio and text rather than through writing alone.

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 (AND and OR) to form a search

Essay question:

"History teaches us that old media never dies... What dies are simply the tools we use to access media content—the 8-track, the Beta-Tape. These are what media scholars call delivery technologies.” (Henry Jenkins 2006, 13).

 Despite Jenkins's observation from 2006, we can also see how digital media has changed how, where, and by whom stories can be told. 

How have new media, technologies and practices impacted contemporary digital mediascapes? Drawing on the concepts discussed in the first part of this semester, use a case study of your choosing in your response.

This assignment question has many different concepts that you need to research. You need to conduct separate searches for each of these concepts.

For example new media, impact and digital media have been taken from the above essay question to create a search strategy.

Try creating a table similar to the one below to brainstorm and keep track of alternative keywords and spellings for the key concepts in your assignment question. 

Concept 1

new media

Concept 2


Concept 3

digital media


social media 

virtual reality 







digital story-telling 

digital storytelling

digital landscape

digital communication

digital narratives

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

Watch the Plan your search video

Construct your search strategy

   Connect your keywords

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

Boolean What it does      Example
  • Connects different concepts 
  • Finds fewer and more targeted results
social media AND impact 
AND digital media
  • Connects alternative keywords for the same concept        
  • Broadens your search and finds more results
  • Includes results that use different terminology
digital media OR digital story-telling OR digital communication

Remember to use "quotation marks" to keep phrases together and brackets () to keep alternative keywords together. Have a look at the example below:

("social media" OR Facebook) AND impact AND ("digital media" OR "digital story-telling" OR "digital communication")

Choose where to search

   Where should you 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 minutes 14 seconds

  • 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.
  • The Library Collection:
    • is a good place to search for scholarly material.
    • provides free access to a variety of resources types across a range of subject areas.
  • Databases:
    • help focus your search and have more advanced searching options.
  • Google Scholar:
    • provides access to a wide range of resources, but not all of it is scholarly. 
    • use the Google Scholar link from the Library website for best access to full-text references.
  • Some types of specific information are best found using a search engine or specific website.
  • All resources need to be evaluated before using them.

Begin your search

  Using your search strategy

Take a look at the following search examples to get you started:  

“participatory culture”AND remix AND TikTok

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.

Select the image below to view the full example search.

Tip: Use filters on the left side of the results page to narrow results, e.g. filter by: peer reviewed, book chapters or publication date.

Want to know more?

Watch this short video about using the Library Collection (1:48)

Practise using the Library Collection with our Interactive Tutorial (15min)

Browse Library journals by topic using BrowZine

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 videos and case studies

Find scholarly sources


Example ProQuest Social Sciences Premium collection search

Select the image below to view the full example search.

Tip: Select Anywhere except full text next to each search line for more precise results.


Want to know more?

How to save time searching databases (PDF)

Example Google Scholar search

Select the image below to view the full example search.

Tip: As you search the Library Collection, add, remove or introduce new concepts and synonyms (similar words) you discover to include in your searches for Google Scholar.

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 (10min)

   Citation tracking

When you've found a really useful article or book chapter, look at the reference list and who has cited (referenced) it to find further relevant literature.

Key databases and search tools which track citations include: ScopusWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar and the Library Collection.

In the Library Collection, look for  or  .

For more information, watch the video on Citation Tracking.

Find grey literature

   What is grey literature?

Grey literature has been defined as:

"Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing, i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body."  

— ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997-expanded in New York, 2004

Grey literature can be hard to find or irretrievable for a number of reasons because it is:

  • Not widely disseminated - e.g. conference proceedings, institutional working papers, theses
  • Often not archived 
  • Available only in obsolete formats
  • It is part of the Invisible web

Quality may also be an issue because it is often not peer reviewed or edited. It is important to carefully evaluate your grey literature sources for suitability before using them in your assignment.

Watch the following video on how to find grey literature.

For further information take a look at the Grey Literature guide:

You may want to take a look at the Social Media for Researchers guide where you can find information on various social media platforms such as blogs, TikTok and Twitter:

Evaluate what you have found

   Evaluate your sources

Once you've found some sources to use in your assignments, it's important to evaluate them for accuracy, credibility and relevance to your needs.

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 reference list given?
Purpose Is it trying to communicate research, persuade you or sell you something? Is it expressing an opinion, or is it balanced and objective?

The following resources offer more information and tips on undertaking this key step:.

Put it all together

   Write and reference

Once you've selected and evaluated your sources, check out the sections below to learn how to put an essay or video essay together.

UniSA has an excellent tutorial called Writing your assignment that walks you through every step of writing a successful essay.

You can also check out the video below for a quick overview of essays:

Want to know more?

Study Help: Essays
This page will help you to understand what an essay is and how to prepare one.

Study Support

Need advice on writing or presenting? Not sure how to organise your ideas? The Study help: online resources hub has tools to help you with your Assignments and succeed at university!

Want someone to check over a draft of your assignment? Studiosity offers an online classroom where you can chat with a learning adviser. The associated "Check Mate" service helps with English, writing and referencing.

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • EndNote
    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.