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SS1010: Australian People: Indigeneity & Multiculturalism: The research phase


So now you have finished the first step, you have read the book and selected the topics and the passages that you are going to build your essay around, next is the research phase. This assignment requires you to use  a minimum of 5 references in your essay, they must include:

Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and Music by Archie Roach

Barney, K. & Mackinlay, E. (2010) “Singing Trauma Trails”: Songs of the Stolen Generations in Indigenous Australia. Music & Politics, 4(2): 1-25. DOI: 10.3998/mp.9460447.0004.202

And at least three other academic sources, which may include assigned readings from this subject and independent research.

Search strategy

So how do you find good additional journal articles to support your essay?

Well one of the best ways is to combine the focus words from our essay question and the key words from the theme you selected in the book and put them into OneSearch on the library home page.

For example, if I am searching for articles on systemic racism and the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families my search words might look something like this:

Racism AND Australian Government AND structural violence AND Stolen Generations

You may have to try a few different combinations of search words to really land on the topic you want, but don’t give up. Once you find it you’re set, and your essay will be much easier to write.

You can learn more about breaking down your topic and developing search strategies on the InfoSkills Toolkit.

Don’t forget you also need to talk about the benefits of truth telling (like Roach has done), how Australian society shapes and is shaped by these continuing traumas, and how as a nation we choose to remember (or try to forget) the past. This may require different search words for example:

Stolen Generations AND truth telling AND speaking out AND Australian society AND remembering

Four step reading process link

If you feel like a more structured approach to reading journal articles would be helpful to you, then consider using a reading strategy like this:


Tip 1 

The librarians help people navigate OneSearch every day, so if you are having a hard time finding the right articles just take your research question and your chosen theme to the front counter at the library and the librarians will be happy to help you. Alternatively, you can ask library staff questions online.

Tip 2

As you research, include the APA references for the articles seriously, you will save a bucket load of time later and a heap of frustration. Here is a link to the APA Reference Guide.


Digging deeper

Another excellent way to find new journal articles and other academic resources such as  government reports is from the reference list in other articles. Here is one that I pulled from the  Barney and Mackinlay (2010) reference list (remember you must use the Barney and Mackinlay (2010) article so you are already on the right track)

Wilkie, M. (1997). Bringing them home: Report of the national inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Definitely looks like it’s worth taking a look at this one, don’t you think?

You can follow reference lists like threads. As you are reading an article if something strikes you as valuable to your essay check to see if it is referenced and then you can search for the original paper and maybe find a gold mine of information.

Here’s another journal article that popped up in OneSearch. This article gives some insight into the construction of narratives and historical consciousness within Australian society, affecting how we as a nation remember or forget Australia’s colonial legacy

Donnelly, D. J., Parkes, R. J., Sharp, H. L., & Shaw, E. L. (2019). Remembering Australia’s past project: Pre-service history teachers, national narratives and historical consciousness. Curriculum Perspectives, 39(2), 159-168. doi:10.1007/s41297-019-00087-z

Once you have found your articles, you still have to use them effectively. This means you will have to read with a purpose and catalogue the important sections (including the page numbers) just like you did with the autobiography.

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country

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