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1. Assignment 1: Written essay

This assessment requires you to choose a topic from the assessment 1 essay topics and instructions page and write a formal, academic essay which includes references to scholarly texts, and a reference list and/or bibliography. 

Remember to read ALL the information on the learnonline site related to your assessment to understand what you need to do.

2. Understand your topic

Use the course readings, an encyclopedia, general dictionary or reliable websites to understand your topic. Consider:

  • What do you need to do?
  • What do you know? Or need to explore further?
  • Do you need to define any terms?
  • What types of evidence do you need?
  • Does information need to be current?
  • Do any theories apply to your topic?

3. Plan your search

Before you start searching you should:

  • Identify the main concepts within your topic or question
  • Think of alternative words or synonyms you could also search for

This video will guide you through this process

Learn more about searching with the below resource

4. Consider alternate keywords

Now you've identified the keywords in your assignment question, try doing the following to help you understand your keywords and find similar or alternative keywords:

  • Use a thesaurus to help you find similar 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

Also consider:

  • Pluralsdifferent word forms (identity vs identities)
  • Different spellings (labour vs labor, and hyphenated words (self-identity vs self identity)
  • Acronyms or Abbreviations (United States of America vs US vs USA)

Create a mindmap or table to help you brainstorm alternative keywords


5. 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: connect similar keywords
  • AND: connect different keywords

You can use "quotation marks" to keep phrases together.

6. What are academic references?

Each of the topics for assessment 1 requires you to support your critique using scholarly sources.

Scholarly sources can also be referred to as Academic references or peer-reviewed (refereed). These can include journal articles, books, book chapters, reports and other sources.  To find out more about academic references look at the resources below.

Read: How to Find Scholarly Sources (PDF)
Watch Study Help: Scholarly Sources Explained (2:22)
Tip: When searching in the library catalogue you can filter your results to show only 'peer-reviewed'

7. Where to search

The Library Collection can be a useful starting point in locating academic references.


Click on the above image to see the search results from the Library Collection.
Use the options to Refine my results in the left menu. Select Peer-reviewed Journals to see only scholarly articles.

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 link from the Library website for best access to full-text references.

More help:

Watch the videos below for more searching tips.

 Learn to search Google Scholar (interactive tutorial)

 Why use Google Scholar? (2:13m)

Advanced Google Scholar search (1:21m)

Journals are publications similar to magazines. They have issues published regularly (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually) and focus on a particular subject. 

BrowZine allows you to explore and 'browse' a range of journals on broad topics such as Arts and Humanities, or select specific areas such as Film and Media, or Fine Arts.

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.

You can access all the Creative databases, or browse the sub-sections, including:

Art Performing arts
Design Visual art and communication
Film Music

Want to know more?

8. Finding artefacts

Part of this assessment requires you to find at least two artefacts you are interested in discussing in your assessment. Here are some suggested resources for you to explore.

Galleries & Museums: 

  • Galleries and museums offer a wide selection of artworks and artefacts in a range of mediums including - images, paintings, sculptures, film, fashion, and more. See the list of galleries and museums in the Find and attribute images for your work document.

  • Google Art & Culture Project allows you to explore museums, galleries, exhibitions, artworks and more, all from the comfort of your computer. You can search for a particular item or browse by theme, artist, medium, or art movement. 

Image Databases:

For a complete list of Art image databases that the library subscribes to, see the Art Images database tab.

9. How to write an essay

To understand your assignment, you need to understand what academic writing is and how formal essays are structured. Check out these resources for help:

Tip: These resources are designed to provide a general overview of academic writing and writing styles. Please refer to your Course Assessment tab for more resources to support your assessment.


Attend online academic skills workshops

The Student Engagement Unit is offering free online academic skills workshops which are designed to help you understand assignment types, assignment writing, and referencing.

See the Study Help site for more details including dates and times for sessions. 

10. Referencing Support

Referencing Roadmap (Harvard)
Need help referencing? Follow the roadmap!

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.

The Chicago Referencing Style Guide
This guide helps you apply the Chicago notes and bibliography referencing system and is designed to help you understand the conventions and principles of this style.

Other referencing support tools:

  • 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).

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.

11. Ask the Library

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