Communication Studies Research

Finding Articles


Start with:

ProQuest Central & Academic Search Premier via EBSCOhost
These databases help you find articles in the leading communication studies journals. Research Library includes several more of the discipline's key journals in full text, but Academic Search Complete covers more journals overall and is good for locating journals in related discplines.

Then, if you need to be more comprehensive, proceed to the following:

Communication & Mass Media Complete via EBSCOhost
This database helps you find journal articles in communication, mass media and other closely-related fields of study. Furthermore, this database includes full text for 350 journals.

Tip: It's often a good idea to search a multidisciplinary database like Research Library or Academic Search Complete before you search a specialized database like Communication & Mass Media Complete. Why? Research Library and Academic Search Complete are slightly more up to date, and while they don't include as many communication studies journals as Communication & Mass Media Complete, they will provide access to the most recent issues of the leading journals more quickly because they are updated more frequently.

The databases listed above cover the communication studies field quite well. However, there are some other useful databases:

PsycINFO via EBSCOhost
This database covers the field of psychology but is useful when your research extends to the psychological and sociological effects of media.

ABI-Inform via ProQuest & Business Source Complete via EBSCOhost
If your topic relates to business communication, then try searching these databases. They cover business and management journals and provide a lot of full text.

LexisNexis has many full-text newspaper articles and transcripts of television news programs.

Finally, here is an online journal recommended by a Communication Studies professor that you may wish to search:

JumpCut: A Review of Contemporary Media
This searchable online journal includes material on film, television, video and related media and cultural analysis.

Finding Books


New communication studies research is typically first disseminated through journal articles. However, books can still be an important component of your research. Just remember to look at the publication dates and note that journal articles may give you more recent research.

To locate books owned by Niagara University Library, use the Library Catalog.

The ebrary electronic book collection offers full-text access to many titles.

If you want to search for books owned by other libraries, too, then try searching WorldCat, a catalog that contains references to more than 57 million items owned by 9,000 libraries worldwide. Don't worry - if you need a book owned by another library, you can request it. To learn how, jump to the section called Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own.

Tip: One thing to note when searching for books is that they are usually not as specific as articles, so construct your search in a more general way than you would for an article search. So, let's say that you were doing research on how the media influences public opinion in presidential debates. Your best bet would be to search for books about the broader subject of presidential debates and pick out book titles that may look relevant.

Finding Facts, Statistics, and Web Sites


Communication studies is a broad discipline that includes topics such as advertising, film, interpersonal communication and television, just to name a few. While there really isn't a single current reference book that provides overviews of all these topics, the Library does have some specialized reference books that you may find helpful. For example:

  • The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising (HF5803 .A38x 2003)
  • Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television (PN2012 .W5)
  • Dictionary of Communication and Mass Media Studies (P87.5 .W38 1997)
  • Encyclopedia of Television (PN1992.18 .E53 1997)
  • New Biographical Dictionary of Film (PN1998.2 .T49 2003)
  • St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture (E169.1 .S764 2000)
  • World Press Encyclopedia: A Survey of Press Systems Worldwide (PN4728 .Q53 2003)

These titles are located in the Reference Collection on the first floor.

Tip: Reference books can also help you locate keywords to help you perform better searches. For example, suppose you are doing a paper on how movies are advertised. If you take a few minutes to look in an advertising encyclopedia, you will learn more about the topic and find keywords like marketing, trailers, lobby cards and posters. Knowing more background information and keywords will help you do better and more comprehensive research.

The World Wide Web is a great place to find statistical data. Try these sites:

Public Opinion and Datasets

Roper Center Public Opinion Data (iPoll)
A comprehensive database of 500,000+ questions and answers asked in the US since 1935. Includes access to datasets.

For current public opinion data, you may also want to visit You may also find public opinion data included in news stories; Westlaw Campus Research is a useful database for this.

If you are looking for specific information on the World Wide Web, visit a search engine like Google and type your keywords in.

If you would like to browse a directory of communication web sites, try this one:

Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own


If you need an article or a book that NU Library does not own, you can make use of Interlibrary Loan to obtain it.

Tip: In a hurry? If the article or book you need is owned by another library in Western New York, you can visit that library and use their resources on site (view a list of Western New York library web sites).

Please note: If you wish to borrow a book from another Western New York library, you can get an InfoPass card at the Reference Desk.

Citing Your Sources


Format your paper and cite your sources according to the:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Ref BF76.7 .P83 2010)

This manual is the definitive source. The official manual is not online, though APA does provide some guidance on how to cite web sites and electronic databases:

You may also want to check out some style tips from APA:

Here is a guide from Long Island University:

Try a Google search of "APA Style" to see other guides. You will find many sites listed that provide examples of APA Style. The first few that are listed tend to be reliable, but you will have to be careful.

Tip: Please talk to your professor if you have questions about how to cite your sources.