Skip to Main Content

Photography: Research

A photography career offers the opportunity to work anywhere from a local wedding to the Olympics. Many photographers work for newspapers, or are employed on a freelance basis by advertising agencies, businesses, or individuals.

Useful books

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is the academic part of Google. You can search just like on normal Google, but you'll find academic information to use in your assignments.

Plus: You can search Wintec Library's databases of journal articles through Google Scholar!

Student Learning Support

Check out the SLS Moodle page for some more help with your studies.

If you would like further support, please come to the Library, Student Learning Services or Te Kete Kōnae.

These Wintec Academic Learning & Writing Resources are grouped under the following steps:

Understanding and Analysing the Question 

Resources in this section can help students build their knowledge on the important areas of an assessment question.

Planning your Assignment  

All good assignments are planned thoroughly. Resources here will give you step by step processes towards developing your assignment skills.

Finding your Information There are many quality resources held in our physical Library, online databases, or are available on the Internet. Check this section to see how to find what is available.

Reading & Note-taking These resources help you gain strategies before, while and after reading and note-taking.

Writing Process - The Assignment The first part of the writing process is The Assignment. These resources help you identify the critical areas needed to write successfully.

Editing & Proof-reading Editing and proof-reading your assignment ensures you present well all necessary aspects needed to fulfil your assessment question.

Final Steps This section addresses the other areas outside of your writing that need to be considered. This includes: formatting, uploading to Moodle, and Turnitin.

Getting started on your research

Getting started on your research

Types of research

Finding a topic

Understanding the question


                                                             Literature Search Strategy

Use the arrow  on the right-hand side of the page to navigate back to the top.

Types of research

Primary and Secondary research and resources

You will be required to use primary and secondary resources for most of the assignments that you do.

Primary Research is the collection and interpretation of raw data, through various methods including surveys, questionnaires, observations, interviews, experiments, reading primary sources of creative works, or creating artworks.

When writing an assignment you may be required to refer to primary research within your work.  Alternatively, the assignment may be for you to do your own primary research through one or more of the methods listed above.

Secondary Research is gathering information by reading a range of resources to find out what other people have said on a topic.

You will use secondary resources for most assignments you write. 

It is important that you always use a range of different information sources in your research to ensure you are getting the full picture.

Academic writing

Academic writing requires a more formal approach to writing.  You need to ensure that your spelling and grammar are correct and avoid the use of informal slang and contractions (e.g. won't, haven't, etc.) that you may use when speaking.  However, your language still needs to be concise and easy to read.  Ensure that  you follow the structural and formatting conventions for the type of assignment you are writing (see below).  When writing paragraphs, make sure they are formatted with a topic sentence, supporting sentences (where you show your research and evidence) and conclusions; when possible try to get them to flow logically on from each other. 

Our SLS department has some useful tips

Massey University's OWLL has some useful information



An essay is generally a piece of writing on a particular subject.  It usually has an introduction, body and conclusion.  It will explore and demonstrate your academic opinion on a topic.

Massey University's OWLL has some useful information

Literature review

A literature review is often part of a larger research project.  You use your literature review to find out what has already been done on a topic, analyse its usefulness for your requirements and to determine how your research will build on this.  You can use a literature review to find your unique niche in the existing body of research.

Most universities provide guidelines on how to write different types of works, here are some examples of how to write literature reviews.....

Massey University: OWLL

University of Otago: Conducting a Literature Review

University of Waikato: Literature Review


A report is a concise write up of research you have conducted.  It generally includes: an introduction to your topic, a literature review, an outline of the methodology used, a discussion of the results and recommendations for future research.

Massey University's OWLL has some useful information

Case studies

A case study is a report of an in-depth investigation of an individual, a group or a particular situation that has been conducted over a period of time. It usually involves more than one type of research methodology.

Monash University's How to write a case study

Lab reports

We use lab reports to communicate and report on experiments we have been conducting.   A Lab report will explore a particular concept and hypothesis(es), review literature justifying the hypothesis, application of methods to test the hypothesis, and objective and theoretical evaluation of the results.

Massey University's OWLL has some useful information

Creative research

Doing creative research involves undertaking a project that contributes to knowledge and understanding, cultural innovation or aesthetic refinement. In the media arts, the investigation and its results may be embodied in the form of artistic works, designs or performances.

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources with a summary and evaluation of each source.  Its layout is similar to a reference list/bibliography, but with a paragraph/annotation after each.

Massey University's OWLL has some useful information

Finding a topic

Finding a topic

If you are required to find your topic yourself, you may need to read quite widely to even get started (see literature review above).  You may like to follow the steps below:

  1. Think of a topic that interests you.
  2. Brainstorm a range of different issues and ideas related to this topic, i.e. the different aspects you could investigate to narrow it down to a more specific and guided research question.
  3. Conduct a review of the literature to find out what has already been done on this topic and what further research needs to be done so that you can find a gap in the research.
  4. Think about the methodology you could use to conduct your research.
  5. Discuss your options with your tutor.

Understanding the question

Read the question carefully

Once you have your topic you need analyse it and make sure you know what is required from you.

Do you need to:

  • Discuss?
  • Analyse?
  • Compare?
  • Give examples?

If there is anything in a research question you have been given that you don't understand, you should talk to your tutor before starting.

Next you will need to find the key concepts within the topic to research.  See Key to Keywords below.

Keyword Tips

The Key to Keywords

When you type words into OneSearch or Google to find information, the words you search with are called 'keywords'.

The video below explains more about keywords, and we have some keyword tips further down the page.

Keyword Tips

Finding the right keyword to use can be hard - but we're here to help!

Here are some tips to remember when you try a search.

Don't write out the whole assignment question as a search!

You need to pick keywords to use as search terms.

Look it up!

Not sure what a word in your assignment means? Look it up! Google it, use, or find a dictionary in the library. You can also ask a tutor, or at the Library Desk.

Watch your spelling!

You're probably used to Google correcting your spelling when you search, but not everywhere you search will be able to do that. OneSearch will try to guess what you mean, but the Wintec Library Catalogue, the individual databases, and the ebook collections won't find anything if you don't spell your search correctly (you can always use Google to find the correct spelling if you're stuck!)

Watch out, too, for British/NZ and American spellings. Here are some examples:

  • color (American) and colour (British/NZ)
  • behavior (American) and behaviour (British/NZ)
  • pediatric (American) and paediatric (British/NZ)
  • socialize (American) and socialise (British/NZ)


You don't have to use the exact words in your assignment question. Synonyms are words that mean the something similar. In the video, Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, so we can search using both words. Sometimes one word might be more academic, and another word might be more informal. A word like Acculturation is more academic. Culture shock is more informal, but they both talk about the same thing.

Different countries use different words for the same thing.

  • Motorway (British/NZ) and Highway (American/NZ)

Synonyms can be really useful when trying to find the right keywords for your search. If you don't know any synonyms for your subject, don't worry! You can always check a thesaurus, and often your results page (or the Wikipedia page on your subject) will help you find other related words.

Note: 'Antonyms' are the OPPOSITE of a word. Synonyms are the same, antonyms are NOT the same.

Keep trying!

Use different keywords in different combinations to see what works best to find you the right information.

Use keywords everywhere!

Use keywords on the Library Catalogue, on Google, on Google scholar, and in the databases and for ebooks too.

Remember to use "  " around phrases like "culture shock".

You need to use "  " around two words or more to search it as a phrase.

When you want to expand your results by searching for alternative endings of a word, use *

Child* Searches for Child / Children / Childhood / Childlike / Childbirth

Literature Search Strategy

My Research Question:...........................................................................................


Keywords Synonyms                             

What types of information do I need to look for?

Academic journal articles?
News articles?

Legal documents?



What date range do I need to limit my search to?

What types of groups or organisations could be useful?

What are some good websites to start with?

Contact Us

City Campus
(07) 834 8866
(07) 834 8800 ext 4452