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Current Awareness 2022: September

This monthly post, compiled by the Information Search Librarians Team, will note special dates and themes, and draw your attention to possibly interesting cross-disciplinary topical references intended to inform and to inspire ideas for research.

Request a Literature Search

Need sources for your literature review? Struggling to find sources for your assignment, research proposal or thesis?

The Library can assist with a literature search, which is a systematic and comprehensive search for published, academic material on your specific subject/topic. How do you request one? Simply go to Request a literature search .

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What is current awareness

Current awareness is the term used to describe staying informed by keeping up to date with the latest publications, research and news in your field.

The perspective of current awareness is the present and the forthcoming, as opposed to the retrospective. 

Current awareness ranges from looking for information on specific topics on a regular basis (and this usually involves the assistance of your Personal Librarian to help you set up a search profile matched to your research interests) to embracing a wider, more general, and cross-disciplinary view that brings an element of serendipity into your search for the latest information.

Informally, researchers remain alert in all contexts for useful information and insights that will inform their daily practice, their research, and spark off innovative and creative ideas for new avenues of research.

Website of the month

The website of the month is:


Who We Are

 READ operates primarily as an educator development agency in the fields of language, literacy and communication and is a leader in educational assessment, materials development and resource provision. In terms of local and international resource selection and provision, READ delivers community and life-skills training to young people about to enter the workforce, as well as training for adults in business, including presentation, communication and conflict resolution skills

Further reading

Database of the Month

Pandemic Literature: Responses to Pestilence in the Contemporary World

The literary treatment of pandemics, disease outbreaks that occur over a wide geographic area, has been exceptionally broad, informing texts ranging from Thucydides’s account of the Athenian plague in 430 bce to the ten plagues of Egypt described in the biblical book of Exodus to medieval plague stories such as Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron (1348-53) and the vampire literature popularized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) through modern-day AIDS narratives, speculative disaster fiction, and zombie movies and stories.

About the monthly awareness page

The year is marked with many special days, weeks, and months dedicated and devoted to raising awareness about important issues.

This monthly post, compiled by the Information Search Librarians Team, will note special dates and themes, and draw your attention to possibly interesting cross-disciplinary topical references intended to inform and to inspire ideas for research.

Selected noteworthy days in August

September: Heritage Month (South Africa)

September: Tourism Month (South Africa)

September: Public Service Month (South Africa)

September: Heart Awareness Month (South Africa)

September: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (South Africa)

September: National Month of Deaf People (South Africa)

8 Sept : International Literacy Day 

9 Sept: World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

10 Sept: World Suicide Prevention Day

15 Sept: International Day of Democracy

16 Sept: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

21 Sept: International Day of Peace

21 Sept: World Alzheimer's Day

24 Sept: Heritage Day (South Africa)

26 Sept: World Environmental Health Day

28 Sept: World Rabies Day

30 Sept: International Translations Day

In the media

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Should you wish to read Current Awareness guides of previous years, please visit the archive:








Looking for upcoming conferences?

If you are looking for forthcoming conferences, the following websites are helpful:

Golden oldie

You will be prompted to enter your Unisa student number and myUnisa password, or, your Unisa staff Network username and password to access the dissertation and the article.

What are we thinking of? A critical overview of approaches to developing academic literacy in South African higher education

Chrissie Boughey


Published Online:1 Dec 2013

In South African higher education, the development of academic literacy is often seen to be the responsibility of those working in the field that is known as 'academic development'. This paper uses an analysis of submissions to the 2012 annual conference of the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa, the forum most used by those working in the field to present their work, (i) to examine critically the way the construct of academic literacy is understood by practitioners in the field and (ii) to consider the approaches to the development of literacy to which these understandings lead.

Pitfalls and possibilities in literacy research : a review of South African literacy studies, 2004–2018

Yvonne Reed1

Kerryn Dixon1

 Claire Biesman-Simons1

 Elizabeth Pretorius2


Published Online:5 Dec 2020

Background: Given the comprehensively documented literacy crisis in South Africa and the gaps in what is known about the effective teaching of reading and writing in schools, high-quality literacy research is a priority.

Objectives: This article evaluates South African research from two annotated bibliographies on reading in African languages at home language level (2004–2017) and South African research on teaching reading in English as a first additional language (2007–2018). It also aims to provide guidelines for addressing these weaknesses.

Methods: Examples of 70 quantitative and qualitative research studies from the annotated bibliographies were critically analysed, identifying key weaknesses in the research as a whole and examples of excellent quality.

Results: Weaknesses evident in the research reviewed, suggested greater consideration is needed to lay sound methodological foundations for quality literacy research. Three methodological issues underlying local literacy research that require greater attention are research design, selection and use of literature and research rigour. High-quality research examples are referenced but, for ethical reasons, examples of what we consider to be flawed research are described generally. Guidelines are offered for addressing these pitfalls that, in our view, contribute to research of limited quality. Since many universities require submission of a journal article as a requirement for postgraduate students, preparation for such an article is considered.

Conclusion: While this article is not intended to be a comprehensive guide, we hope it is useful to supervisors, postgraduate students and early career researchers currently undertaking, or planning to undertake, literacy research and to writing for publication.