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Communications: COMMS 101

Pro Tip for Remote Access: Login to the Library Website

Login to the library website for the best access to online resources. Look for the Login icon in the upper right corner. 

Where to Search

1. Library Databases:

  • Databases are online, searchable collections of peer-reviewed journals, newspapers, market reports, etc.
  • Peer-reviewed journals feature scholarship that has been written and reviewed by experts in the field before publication
  • How do I find the best database for my research? Consult the library's Research Guides (or look for the red "Research Guides" button on the library homepage)Each Research Guide links to the best databases for each discipline. 

2. Examples: 

  • If your research is about the emotional or psychological impacts of social media, search  
  • If your research is on corporate sponsorship of athletes and advertising, search  
  • If your research is about teaching media literacy in elementary school, search in a 
  • Timesaver: 
    • Databases published by the same company (e.g., EBSCOProQuestcan be searched together. Select your first database, then look for "Choose Databases" above the search box (EBSCO) or "Databases" in the top navigation bar (ProQuest) to add more. 

3. More Sources:

  • Sometimes it can help to search a database that covers a broad range of topics. Try this: 
    • Academic Search Ultimate: multi-disciplinary database; full text for more than 4,500 journals, including full text for more than 3,700 peer-reviewed titles.
  • Read media coverage of your topic. Try this: 
    • Newspaper Source Plus: more than 860 full-text newspapers, providing more than 35 million full-text articles; 857,000 television and radio news transcripts. 

How to Search

1. Develop your research question:

Develop a question that is clear, focused, concise, complex, and arguable. (The Writing Center of George Mason University, "How to Write a Research Question,"


​2. Identify the key words and concepts in your research question:

  • How does cyberbullying impact teenagers’ school grades?


3. Use AND to connect these ideas in an advanced search:


4. Think of synonyms for your keywords to develop a more complete search. Use OR to add these synonyms:


5. Use an asterisk * to search for multiple endings/suffixes for a word and quotation marks " " to search for a complete phrase. Examples: Searching for teen* will help you find results for teen, teenager, teenagers


6. Narrow your search by limiting results to:

  • Peer reviewed sources

  • By publication date


7. Find the full text of an article by looking for:

  • Get It! @ BYU 

  • PDF Full Text  

  • HTML Full Text  

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Elizabeth Smart

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Humanities Reference
Level 5
Hours: M-Th: 8am-9pm; 
F: 8am-6pm; Sat:10am-6pm


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You can easily input (and format) journal articles, books, websites, and other resources for your paper with RefWorks!