Communication, Media and Journalism: COMM 1062 Journalism: Principles and Practices: Topic 2


COMM 1062 Journalism: Principles and Practices


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

You will need to choose one of the topics provided. The essay must be based on your wider academic research and reading on your chosen topic. 

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

Developing your search strategy: Topic 2 - Objectivity, or not?

Begin your search plan by breaking down your topic into keywords.

For example, lets' look at topic two - Objectivity, or not?

"With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as objective journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms." Hunter S Thompson (1937-2005), US journalist, author and founder of gonzo journalism. 

Develop an argument that either agrees or disagrees with the above quote and discuss it within the context of contemporary journalism. Use the academic literature and actual examples from the news media to argue a particular position.

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

  • "develop an argument that either agrees or disagrees...."

      2. Find the content words in your question.

    • agree or disagree
      • there is no such thing as objective journalism

      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 term in your search:
      • contemporary journalism
  • Planning your search will help you find information more efficiently. Start by:

    • Identifying the main concepts in your research question
    • Thinking of any relevant synonyms (similar concepts) 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 you are researching 'objective journalism in contemporary journalism', you could do:

    Main concepts

    Concept 1

    Concept 2

    Concept 3
    contemporary journalism

    Synonyms (similar concepts)



    mass media

    news media







    Tip: As you search add concepts you come across to include in searches.

    Start your search

    Now you need to put these keywords together and build a search and develop your search criteria.

    Remember use these to build your search criteria:

    • OR connects similar words like objectivity OR ethics
    • AND connects different concepts together like journalism AND objectivity
    • "speech marks" let you search for a phrase - it locks the words together like "mass media"

    After you build up a search strategy, you can start to apply them in search tools, such as the example searches below.

    Library Collection 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 Refine my results menu to limit your results:

    •  Peer-reviewed Journal publications 
    •  Publication date eg 2015 to 2020

    Search a database when you are not finding relevant results via the Collection, want to explore further, or in order to restrict your results to a specific discipline, topic area or material type. Here is an example search in ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection.

    1. Select the Advanced Search option (top). Add a different concept (keyword) in each new line using the connector AND.

    2. Add any synonyms (similar concepts) to each line using the connector OR. This will broaden your search.

    3. Focus your search further by using the options to the left of the results:

    • Scholarly Journals
    • Publication date

    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:

    Understand types of information

    Information comes in many different forms and depending on your assessment requirements, some types of information are more appropriate than others. You may even be asked to use specific types of information, such as peer-reviewed articles. When planning your search, it is important to consider what type of information you will need. Explore the diagram below to discover different types of information.  

    Evaluating Information

    Once you have evaluated the different types of information you will be using for your essay, start to think about the writing process. Look at Writing and Academic Language where you will find useful resources on developing your critical thinking skills as well as demonstrating critical thinking in your writing. 

    News Media Guide

    Take a look at the New Media Guide where you can find news in various formats such as print, online and video content. This guide will assist you to find News content through Library subscribed resources and online. 

    You can also search news in some of the key databases.

    This guide will help locate "actual examples from the news media to argue a particular position". You can search for relevant case studies using different news media selecting the links below.


    Study Support

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

    There is also a Writing your assignment page that can also assist you with interpreting your topic and planning your search

    • 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.

    Ask the library

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