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Research projects

Getting started

Need help starting your research? 

Need assistance with writing your thesis? PhD, Masters and Professional Doctorate by research students can access a range of services and resources.

Literature review

This short (2 mins) video from the Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University provides a quick introduction to literature reviews.

For help completing your literature review please see the following links:

The Library's Systematic Reviews guide provides an overview of the scoping, narrative and systematic review types.

   Top tips
  • Record your search strategy so that you (and others) can replicate the process - this is essential for systematic reviews, but is generally advised to ensure transparency and replicability. Document search tools used, date searches conducted, search terms, any limits (e.g. year, language), and number of hits
  • Sign up for accounts with key database providers (e.g. Ovid and ProQuest) so that you can save articles, search strategies, alerts and more for later use
  • Set up alerts so that you keep up to date with material as it is published on your topic
  • To conduct a comprehensive search, go beyond the major indexed databases to locate grey literature
  • Manage and organise your search results using bibliographic management software such as EndNote
  • Systematic review methodology was developed for medicine and healthcare, and aspects of the approach prescribed in the discipline may be inappropriate for certain social sciences research questions. Alternatives such as that developed by the UK Social Care Institute for Excellence may be more appropriate
   An answerable question

'Successfully retrieving relevant information begins with a clearly defined, well-structured question.'
Davies, KS 2011, 'Formulating the evidence based practice question: a review of the frameworks', Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 75.

Developing a Research Question (Academic Skills, University of Melbourne)

A range of standardised frameworks have been developed to assist in developing focused, answerable questions which can be easily broken down into searchable components for more relevant results.

Examples of framing the question are available on the Systematic Review Guide.

   Key search tools for Film, TV & Performing Arts
  • AustLit
    Information on Australian literature, authors and playwrights.
  • Bloomsbury Popular Music
    Provides unrivalled scholarly coverage of modern popular music worldwide, covering the mid-20th century to the present day.
  • FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals database
    Offers in-depth coverage of the world's foremost academic and popular film journals. This database contains the International Federation of Film Archives' (FIAF's) "Treasures from Film Archives", a detailed index of the silent-era film holdings of archives from around the world, a selection of reference volumes and the linked full-text of over 60 journals.
  • Gale OneFile Fine Arts
    Provides 10.4 million articles to serious students of drama, music, art history, and film-making. More than 250 journals covered in databases are available in full text.
  • Informit Humanities and Social Sciences Collection
    This multi-disciplinary collection provides access to fresh perspectives in the arts, communication, education, history, linguistics, politics and more, dedicated to content from and about Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and South East Asia.
  • Oxford Music Online
   Related disciplines and key multidisciplinary databases
  • Google Scholar via UniSA Library
    Google Scholar allows you find scholarly information across a range of disciplines, provided by a wide range of academic institutions
  • Scopus
    One of the largest bibliographic, multidisciplinary database. Covers chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, life and health sciences, social sciences, psychology, economics, and biological, agricultural, environmental and general sciences.
  • Web of Science
    Bibliographic database covering sciences, social sciences and arts & humanities.
  • ProQuest Art, Design and Architecture Collection
   Search tips
  • Tips for searching databases
    Different databases use a range of truncation and wildcard symbols as well as phrase searching features. This print-out explains how to use the truncation symbol * and the wildcard ? depending on the type of database.
  • Use limits to refine your search
    Your selection criteria/parameters will determine any limits you will apply when searching, e.g. age range, male/female, English/other languages, and/or type of study. The limits available vary across databases. You will need to adapt your search strategy to each database (e.g. search for study types as a separate search string, rather than selecting these from a refinement option).
  • Capture your search strategy
    Most databases, including Medline and Google Scholar, have a search history function. This enables you to view all of the searches that you have performed in a search session (including any limits applied), edit and re-run searches, variously combine searches and save searches for future reference. Copy or export your search history to demonstrate the search strategy used for your review.

Find 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 to Theses

This guide will help you to search databases to find theses, find exemplars and share your thesis through the Research Outputs Repository.

Research methods

Research methods are the techniques, processes, system or procedure followed where data or information is created and then analysed. It is essentially the way you collect your data for your thesis.

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.

Video Length: 2 minutes 7 seconds

Grey literature

Video Length: 5 minutes 13 seconds

Publish your findings

navigate to publishing guide

Ready to publish? See our Publishing guide for more information, including tips from the experts.