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Comm 100: Fundamentals of Speech Communication

Welcome to the COMM 100 Research Guide This guide was created for students currently-enrolled in COMM 100: Fundamentals of Speech Communication.

Library/Research Vocabulary

Abstracts are summaries of articles. The abstract is not the entire article and should not be quoted.

Bibliographies/Reference List are lists of articles, books, websites, films and other materials to help you find information on a topic. Not full-text. Use these to find other relevant sources.

Full-text refers to an entire article or book available for online viewing.

Databases are a one-stop shop for getting scholarly articles on a topic. If you are off campus they will require your HSU ID and password to access.

Searching Library Resources

An easy way to refine your topic is to use Boolean operators and synonyms (words that have a similar meaning to your original word).

To find more synonyms check out the abstracts and subject terms of articles you find on your topic.

Boolean searching is the use of AND, OR, NOT to control your search results.

For example, compare the search results in Academic Search Premier with these search terms and operators:

gaming AND violence locates only records that contain both words.

gaming NOT violence locates records that contain gaming as long as they don't include the word violence.

gaming OR violence locates records that contain one or both words.

Image courtesy of: http://www.le.ac.uk/li/teach/ism1/workbook4d.html


When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles. Journal articles are typically referred to as "scholarly," while magazine articles are usually considered "popular".

CriteriaScholarly JournalPopular Magazine
Content In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication. Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform.
Author Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise. Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise.
Audience Scholars, researchers, and students. General public; the interested non-specialist.
Language Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area. Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers.
Graphics Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs. Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs.
Layout & Organization Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography. Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.
Accountability Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers* or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style.
References Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable. Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given.
Other Examples Annals of Mathematics, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, History of Education Quarterly, Almost anything with Journal in the title.

Time, Newsweek, The Nation, The Economist

This is a modified version of a document created by Amy VanScoy at NCSU Libraries.

Why Use the Library?

  1. Library materials are chosen because they support the HSU curriculum (ie. they will help you with your classes).
  2. Librarians are information professionals! They are trained to help you learn to do research.
  3. You pay for access to the HSU Library through your student fees.
  4. Most Library materials cannot be found for free on the internet.

Sample Search

Use the database "Academic Search Elite" to do the following sample searches:

  1. prostitution
  2. prostitution AND history
  3. prostitution AND sacred

Adding search terms using BOOLEAN OPERATORS can greatly add or limit the results that you retrieve.

Now, try this search:

  1. global warming
  2. climate change
  3. greenhouse effect

Remember the importance of synonyms! They can alter what articles you have access to on your topic of interest.

Now, with your preferred search terms, limit the results to peer reviewed articles. Check the box next to "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals" on the search results screen.

You can also limit to "Full Text" if you want to be able to access the entire article immediately and for free.

Now find an article on your topic. Click the title to see the full record. Review the information, including the abstract.

Click the "Email" link at the right of the screen to email the article to yourself. You can also export it into a citation manager, which is really helpful if you're collecting multiple resources. If you're only pulling a couple, you can select "Cite" and it prepares the citation in your preferred style choice (e.g., APA or MLA).