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Communication 100 : Research Tools

Find and evaluate scholarly research in the social sciences, learn to organize research and create bibliographies with RefWorks

Welcome to your Communication 100 Research Guide


Welcome to your Comm 100 Research Guide. Librarians have put this guide together for you to highlight some useful resources for this class. We also encourage you to explore the rest of the library website.

Search Summon

                       Discover the World of library content

Take a look at the Summon guide to learn more about finding articles, books, and more.

Tips for Searching Databases

The following techniques can improve your searches in article databases:

Enter phrases in quotes:  "global warming" "capital punishment" "organic food"

Use truncation symbols to search for alternate word endings: In most databases, entering ethic* searches for ethic, ethics, ethical and ethically

If one term doesn't work, try a few others. Experiment with different vocabulary related to your topic. Brainstorm ideas for relevant keywords and use background sources such as Wkipedia or CQ Researcher for suggestions.

Topic Map Example

Questions to Ask When Narrowing your Topic:

When giving a 5 minute speech, you will need to narrow your topic to a manageable scope, so that you're not trying to address too much content. You are also being asked to view your topic through the lens of social sciences research. These are some questions to consider in the process of narrowing down your topic and brainstorming keywords:

  • What is the human aspect of my topic? Why does my topic--or specific aspects of it--matter to individuals and groups in society? Who are those individuals and groups (aka stakeholders)?
  • Why do these issues matter? What is at stake?

Use the Mind Mapping tool in Credo Reference to help with keywords!

General/Multidisciplinary Databases

The general databases listed below are a good place to begin research but they often provide limited coverage. Use subject-specific databases to find more articles on your topic.

Subject-Specific Databases

Subject-specific databases offer in-depth coverage of specific disciplines or subject areas.