Selecting a Topic & Background Research
The Library has a large number of subject specific online encyclopedias, companions and handbooks with exhaustive and well-researched entries written by subject experts. These essays are generally helpful startiing points and can help you in defining and focusing your topic. Essays generally include bibliographies that will lead you to further sources on your topic.
Find a sampling of useful sociology and methods resources below. More encyclopedias, companions and handbooks can be found on the Communication E-Reference and Biographies E-Reference lists and in the library's online catalog.
Recommended E-Reference Resources
Scholarly Research: Books
While researching your topic, don’t forget to take a look at the vast collection of books Falvey has to offer. You are probably accustomed to finding scholarly articles as part of a research project, but books are also a significant area of scholarly publishing. They are also an important source for more in-depth background information. You will want a working konwledge of your topic before completing an oral history, even if you are not writing a tradtional research paper.
Often it is easier to review a book on your topic before beginning your article searches. A book can give a broader perspective on your topic, while journal articles tend to be very narrowly focused. Even if you do not reference the book in your term paper, it can still serve as an important source for finding key scholarly research articles on your topic.
To search for books, go to the library’s Search tab, and then click the smaller Books & More tab. You can search for keywords, or you can use the drop-down menu to search for specific titles or authors.
For example, check out this search for African American 20th Century biographies. Add keywords or use the links on the right to narrow your search.
Or, check out this search for African American media representation.
Don’t forget to hit the stacks! (Or, click through to our many online and e-books.)
Scholarly Research: Articles
Article databases can be searched using key terms to find these articles. There are several useful databases in communicatoin:
Search for Articles
Communication & Mass Media Complete (EBSCO)
CMMC offers cover-to-cover indexing and abstracts for more than 570 journals, and selected coverage of nearly 200 more, for a combined coverage of more than 770 titles; furthermore, this database includes full text for over 450 journals. CMMC incorporates the content of CommSearch (formerly produced by the National Communication Association) and Mass Media Articles Index (formerly produced by Penn State) along with numerous other journals in communication, mass media, and other closely-related fields of study. Film & Television Literature Index (EBSCO)
A comprehensive bibliographic database covering the entire spectrum of television and film writing. Subject coverage includes film & television theory, preservation & restoration, writing, production, cinematography, technical aspects, and reviews. It has been designed for use by a diverse audience that includes film scholars, college students, and general viewers. ComAbstracts (CIOS)
The ComAbstracts database contains abstracts of articles published in the primary professional literature of the communication(s) field. Complemented by ComIndex. Project Muse
Searchable collection of recent full-text humanities, social science and mathematics journals published by Johns Hopkins University Press. ComAnalytics (CIOS)
ComAnalytics provides data about the relative publication performance of individual scholars and of departments of communication (journalism, mass communication, speech, communication studies, media studies, rhetoric, etc.). It is the only national system that covers the communication field comprehensively, that properly classifies the field's programs, and that uses metrics validated against relevant external benchmarks (ISI journal impact ratings and rankings from the NCA study of doctoral program reputation). It is the only system that allows individual scholars to benchmark their own performance. Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)
Covers sociological topics in fields such as anthropology, economics, education, medicine, community development, philosophy, demography, political science, and social psychology. Journals published by sociological associations, groups, faculties and institutes, and periodicals containing the term "sociology" in their titles are abstracted fully. Social Sciences Citation Index/Web of Science
Provides access to current bibliographic information and cited references from the journal literature in the physical and social sciences. Search by article title word, journal title, author, cited author or reference, or address word (e.g. author's institution). Coverage begins 1956 to present.
The Library subscribes to a variety of newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Access to the text of many newspapers is available through Proquest Newspapers and Lexis Nexis Academic.
Conducting An Interview
Conducting a research interview or oral history can be very challenging. Luckily, there are resources available to help.
Before you dive in, research techniques and best practices with these handbooks and manuals for oral histories. Then, see some examples of oral histories.
African American Oral History Project from University of Louisville University Libraries
Civil Rights Documentation Project
Story Corps from NPR
Using a particular writing style, such as APA can be challenging. Don't worry, the library is here to help!
Whether writing your reference list by hand or proofreading a Refworks bibliography, you will definitely need to have the APA rules on hand. Check out the resources below:
- If you find the Publication Manual confusing or scary (or both), try the APA Online Tutorial. This video guide is clear and easy to watch. It gives a thorough overview of how to format your paper and cite your sources.
- For those trickier scenarios (how do I cite my class notes? how do I cite a blog post?), try searching the APA Style Blog. This is another official APA site, so it is an authoritative source.
RefWorks is a Web-based software package designed to help you easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies.
See the Library Guide to Refworks for more information.
As you prepare your presentation, pick up some tips from the library’s resources. See this handy guide on Business Presentations from Linda Hauck. These recent books are also helpful guides to presenting:
Presentation Skills for Students
by Joan Van Emden & Lucinda M. Becker
Palgrave Study Skills
Presenting with Power
by Shay McConnon
by Jo Billingham
One Step Ahead
Power Points!: How to design and deliver presentations that sizzle and sell
by Harry Mills
If your presentation includes a PowerPoint slide, handouts, or any type of material that makes reference to or displays the work of others, be sure to follow the University’s Academic Integrity policy. It is important to attribute the work of others, and APA citations may be appropriate. Cite all references to the work of others, and be sure to attribute all images and other media to their original authors. Please see the library’s guide to Academic Integrity for more information.