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Communication Studies Research Guide

An introduction to resources that will provide assistance with Communications Studies research.

From the syllabus

PERSUASIVE SPEECH – The speaker should choose a topic that is: controversial, current, and interesting to the audience.

At the same time you should avoid speech topics that are overdone, can be perceived as offensive to a significant number of people, or require audience’s to change their core values in 8-10 minutes. 

Extensive research will need to be done in order to firmly establish that there is a problem and to develop a workable solution. Formal and key word outlines are required.

Getting Started

Searching Power

Advanced Searching with Boolean operators

Using the power of "Boolean operators" in your search enriches the quality of the information you find. For example, adding "AND" allows you to narrow your search to find results with more than one search term in them. Using "OR" will broaden your search to find results with any of the search terms used. Adding "NOT" to a search removes an unwanted word from all of your results. Really advanced searches can incorporate more than one Boolean operator to make search results very specific and pertinent to your research.

community AND immigrant AND irish = The search engine will find results using ALL THREE terms 

community OR subgroup OR demographics = using OR with synonyms increases the variety in your results; search results will include ANY of the terms 

columbus NOT explorers = using NOT will exclude a term; this is often useful to avoid a commonly used term that is irrelevant to your research

(columbus NOT explorers) AND (women OR gender) = use parentheses to "control" mini-searches, then connect the mini-searches with AND to make a sophisticated advanced search

Wildcard Symbol: Using the asterisk (*) after part of a search term looks for several variations of the word. For example, autobiograph* will find autobiography, autobiographies, or autobiographical.  (Some databases use the ! exclamation point for the wildcard symbol. Check out the help section of any library resource for a list of acceptable symbols.)

Example: Marian Betz

From 1:30 - 10:00, introduction

What is the issue she is discussing?

Who is her audience?

How would you describe her slide design?

What sources does she use?


Database List

There are hundreds of databases  to choose from.  Your topic will often dictate where you want to look, since databases are often created around a particular field of study.  Some, however, are more general, and can be good starting places.

Data analysis Example

Here are a few databases that can be used to find statistical information.