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SOCU 1008 UO: The Social world: essay plan and essay


This page will get you started in finding articles and books to include in your Essay Plan and Essay.

It's important to fully understand your assessment before you start searching. Read the details in your course outline and course website. These detail:

  • what you need to do
  • what sort of resources you need
  • where to search (e.g. if you need statistics, the Library catalogue won't be the best place)

Plan your search

For your essay plan and essay, using the list of options from your course site, you need to choose one topic and apply it to two concepts. For this example, we have chosen the concepts 'race' and 'deviance', and created a new topic 'marriage'.

Work through the interactive slide show below to learn how to plan your search.

More help:

Watch Plan your search  (2 min 26 sec)

Read: How to plan your search - PDF (275.61 KB)

View SEU's Writing your assignment page for more help on interpreting your topic and planning your search

Scholarly sources and peer review

You need to find scholarly references to support your assignments. To learn more about what scholarly sources are watch this video (2min 22)

Some scholarly sources are peer reviewed. You are required to include a minimum of 7 peer reviewed sources for your essay (aiming for 8 - 10). The guide below describes how to confirm peer review status of a paper.

Start your search

Now you need to conduct your search to find your articles. Remember use these techniques in your search strategy for best results:

  • OR connects similar words like race OR ethnicity
  • AND connects different concepts like interracial AND marriage
  • double quotes "...." to find specific phrases. e.g.  "ethnic heritage"

After you build up a search strategy, you are ready to search. Some example searches are below.

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

Put your search in the basic search box, group your alternative keywords inside brackets

Use the advanced search to split your concepts on to different rows

Use Refine my results on the left hand side to narrow your results. Here are some examples:

  • Show Only - Peer-reviewed journals
  • Resource Type - Book chapters
  • Publication Date - limit to the last 10 years

The Library Collection does not list everything we have access to. Try a database when you are not finding relevant results in the Catalogue, or in order to restrict your results to a specific discipline, topic area or material type.

Here is an example in Sociological Abstracts (via ProQuest) it provides descriptive information for international literature in sociology and related disciplines, covering journal articles, books and conference papers.

Example Advanced Search

  • Put a different concept on each line.
  • Use OR to connect any similar terms (synonyms).

  • Tip: Use the Find it button to try and locate full text articles.

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

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:

Tip: Ensure your articles focus on sociological aspects by adding 'sociology' as another search concept. You could also add a relevant theory or theorist here

Other resources: news and statistics

When composing your essay, it may be useful to include statistical information or news articles.

  • Statistics provide evidence to support your arguments
  • New articles can be used as examples to illustrate your points

Find statistics

Find news media

To find news Australian and international articles on a particular topic look at the Library databases listed under the News subject heading:

You may also want to consult the News Media subject guide which includes news wires, RSS feeds, and media releases.

Want to find 'sociology' related Australian newspaper articles?

Use the NewsBank Newspaper database to search for specific Australian articles by selecting the Australia's Newspapers link and search for the article by Headline (change from the default option of All Text), using double quotes around your phrase.

If you don't know the exact headline you can still do a headline search - just add keywords and double quotes. For example theft by headline and "past 12 months" at Date(s) field, would find the articles with the keywords theft in the headline/title which were published in past 12 months. You will then need to look through your results until you find the article you require. You can select the article you require to email or print it.

Evaluate information

It is important to evaluate the information you find to ensure it is accurate and meets your needs. Watch this short video (3 min 16). For more information view the Evaluate page.


When writing your essay plan, be sure to use the template supplied on your course site. Your course site also includes information on how to structure your essay. The below resources may also assist.

The Student Engagement Unit has created a suite of resources called Study Help:

Studiosity offers assistance with academic writing, referencing, maths, business studies and more. Use the online chat or submit work for feedback.


These two assignments must be referenced using the APA 7th style. Visit the SEU's referencing pages for guidance.

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