Communication and Media: COMM 1076 UOPublic relations theory and practice


This help page will get you started in finding material to include in Assessment 1.2 - Annotated Bibliography and Assessment 2 - Essay.

For your annotated bibliography and essay you will need to find articles related to your specific topics as well as broadly in Public Relations theory and practice.

Always read the assessments information in your course website and outline to understand exactly what you need to do.

Developing your search plan

Example question for this assignment

To what extent is public relations the use of persuasion and manipulation in a non-political government context?  Discuss in relation to awareness raising and behaviour change campaigns and framing theory and Semiotics.

1. Find the task word(s) in your question. For example:

  • "To what extent" and "discuss in relation to...."

2. Find the content words in your question. You can find these by taking the task word and adding the question “What?”:

  • To what extent (what?)
    • is public relations the use of persuasion and manipulation in a non-political environment
  • discuss in relation to (what?)
    • of persuasion and manipulation in a non-political environment.

3.  Find the parameters for your search

  • Context words - how are you going to frame your search? you might want to add some of the following terms in your search:
    • Non-political environment, awareness raising, behaviour change campaigns, framing theory and semiotics

To search effectively you need to plan a strategy to give you the best chance to get the most relevant results. You could try creating a mindmap of your question to assist in understanding your topic and finding important key words to search on.

Below is a map of the example question, but remember you can always find and add more concepts as you are working on the question. 


want to know more? look at the following resources:

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Start searching

The Library Catalogue can be a useful starting point in locating information. 

To do a search, try using:

  • double quotes "...." for phrases. This keeps concepts together.
  • truncation* to find the plural and other forms of a word

Use the Tweak my results menu to limit your results:

  •  Peer-reviewed Journal publications 
  •  Publication date eg 2014 to 2019

Google Scholar

Try Google Scholar to find scholarly information. An advantage of Google Scholar is that it provides access to the full text of many UniSA scholarly (academic) articles if you connect via the link above, or from the Library home page.

The Advanced Scholar Search option gives more flexibility when you search. To access it select the menu (three lines) in the top left hand corner of Google Scholar. This menu will appear once you do an initial search in Google Scholar.

Here is an example:

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Peer reviewed journals

Peer reviewed (refeered) journals are of high quality and can be used to support the argument that you are presenting. Articles in peer reviewed journals must go through an evaluation process with experts in the field before being published.

The terms scholarly and academic are also sometimes used to indicate quality journals.

Watch the following video to learn more:

Searching Databases

Databases are searching tools for finding articles, papers, reports and more.  Some databases are subject-specific, whilst others may cover multiple subject areas.  Find more databases by browsing the database list by subject, or by clicking on the 'Find Resources' tab in this guide.

Business Source Complete is one database you will want to search for this assignment.

Here's an example of a search in Business Source Complete.

  • Put each different concept on a new line:


  • You may want to consider putting some synonyms (similar concepts) into your search. These are connected with OR.
    • For example: persua* OR manipul*
    • Using the * symbol will help you find alternative endings to a word. For example: persua* finds persuade, persuading, persuasion...


Refining the results

You may want to limit to:

  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals
  • Publication Date


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