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Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: Communications

This guide will help you understand how to efficiently and effectively do basic research.

Step 1. Locate Communications Background Information

This guide leads you through the research process for Communications topics. For general tips on the research process, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.

Related Subject Guide - Communications

For Specialized print encyclopedias, use the Humanities Reference collection, Level 5:

  • The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising (Hum Ref HF 5803 .A484x 2003)
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Ethics in Politics and the Media (Hum Ref PN 4756 .C66x 2001)
  • Encyclopedia of International Media and Communications (Hum Ref P 87.5 .E532x 2003)
  • History of the Mass Media in the United States: An Encyclopedia (Hum Ref P 92 .U5 H55 1998)

For Specialized online encyclopedias, use the following databases. For subject specific background resources, use the Communications Subject Guide.

Step 2. Develop & Narrow Your Topic

After reading Background Resources, you should be able to fill out the following "From Topic to Research Focus" formula.  NOTE: This is NOT the same as your Thesis Statement.  Your Thesis Statement is developed after you read Research Materials about your issue/question, determine your stance, and decide how you will present your attitude/angle/argument. For examples of how to use the "From Topic to Research Focus" rubric, click on the Develop and Narrow Topic tab at the top of this page.

1)  I am researching ______________________________________ (topic)
2)  because I want to find out _______________________________  (issue/question)
3)  in order to ____________________________________________ (application)

Organize your Research Focus into concepts: identify terms, think of synonyms, and organize them using this chart.

(Concept 1) _______________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 1)

AND (Concept 2) ___________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 2)

AND (Concept 3) ___________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 3)

Step 3. Find Research Materials for Communications topics

For Books use the Books & More search to find specific titles from the bibliographies you noted above. Use the Books & More - Advanced Search to find additional books on your issue question. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box.

For Articles use the Articles & More - Advanced Search selecting Collection: Communications. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box. Click Go to begin the search. Click on the title of the article to read the abstract. Click the Full Text Available and Check for Full Text to view the entire article.

To retrieve additional articles, connect to the databases linked below, or select them from Databases A-Z in the Databases & Journals box on the Library Home Page. Depending on how you have narrowed your subject, other databases listed on the Communications Subject Guide may also be appropriate.

Steps 4 & 5: Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper

For tips on Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.