Skip to Main Content

HUMS 2047 Social Research Methods

What you need to do?

This page will help you find scholarly references for your research critique and research proposal. It will also help you find information about different research methodologies.

To critique an article and develop a research proposal, you will need to:

  1. Search for information on the research topic.
  2. Explore the research methodology used in the research article and to be proposed in the research proposal.

Remember to always check your course website and outline to know exactly what you need to do.

Plan your search

Planning your search will help you find information more efficiently. Start by:

  •  Identifying the main concepts in your research topic.
  •  Thinking of any alternative concepts or synonyms for each concept.
  •  Connecting your concepts together using 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 'youth homelessness in Australia', you could do:

Main concepts

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3


(similar concepts)

young people
young person
teenager, teen
adolescent, adolescence

unstable housing
unstable accommodation


Tip: As you search, you may come across more concepts or synonyms you can incorporate.  Don't be afraid to change or modify your search as you go.

Connect your key words

Now you need to connect your search concepts together to form different search strategies.

The below table summarises how they work:

Operator words What it does Example
  • Narrows your search.
  • The more concepts you connect with AND the more focused your search will become.
homelessness AND Australia
  • Broadens your search.
  • Includes results that use different terminology.
youth OR teenager OR adolescent
  • Removes concepts from a search.
  • Not recommended as you can potentially eliminate relevant results.
youth NOT adult

Watch or read the below to see how to put together a search using operators:

Using operator words

Test your knowledge of operator words with the activity below.

Academic sources

For the assessments you will need to use scholarly literature. Academic or scholarly is an umbrella term for several different kinds of authoritative and credible sources including peer reviewed articles, some books and resources known as ‘grey literature’.

Watch or read to learn more:

Understand research methods

Your research critique requires you to identify the various research methods used in the article. In the research proposal, you will need to identify research methods and justify the choice of method. If you need help understanding different research methods, see the database:

Tip: You may want to explore the Research Methods Map. Find it by scrolling down once you are in the database.

Where to search

You can start by searching the Library Catalogue or Google Scholar.

However, it is recommended you also search library databases. Library databases are search tools that help you find articles, book chapters, papers and more. Try one of the following:

Watch this short video to learn more:

Start your search

Navigate to Google Scholar

You can also try searching Google Scholar.
Remember to access it through the Library Homepage to see UniSA full text.

Here is a search example using the keywords we brainstormed earlier:

  • Start by adding a few different concepts:

  • Broaden your search by adding synonyms (similar concepts) using the connector OR:

  • To focus your search add another concept:

  • You can limit your results by date by using the Custom range. This may help you find recent information.

Tip: You may find it easier to use the Advanced Search option. For help see:

Search in databases

Navigate to ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection
Here is a example search in ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection.

  1. Select the Advanced Search option (top).
  2. Add a different concept (keyword) in each new line using the connector AND.
  3. Add any synonyms (similar concepts) to each line using the connector OR. This will broaden your search.

  4. Focus your search further by using the options to the left of the results (e.g. peer reviewed and publication date).


  • Use our Save time searching databases cheat sheet for more helpful hints. 
  • Use Find It button to locate the full text. Find it is a service that helps locate the full text of an article and finds it within UniSA Library Collection. 

Navigate to Jstor database
Here is a example search in JSTOR

  1. Using the Advanced Search option (below search box).
  2. Add different concepts (keywords) on each new line using the connector AND.
  3. Add synonyms (similar concepts) to each line using the connector OR. This will broaden your search.
  4. If you want to add another concept to your search, such as the risk factors of homelessness, just select Add a search box.
  5. Focus your search further by using the options on the left of the results.


Navigate to Scopus database
Here is a example search in Scopus.

  1. Add more search fields by using the plus sign + (right of search box).
  2. Add a difference concept (keyword) to each line using the connector AND.


  3. Add synonyms (similar concepts) to each line using the connector OR.

  4. Remember if you want to add more concepts select the plus sign to add another field.
  5. Focus your search further by using the options on the left. Click Limit to or Exclude.

Tip: Use our How to save time searching databases cheat sheet for more help.

Help writing your assignment

Now you've found the information you need, check out the following resources to help you put it all together!