E-Reference Resources

Selecting a Topic

E-Reference Resources are a good place to explore potential research topics right from your dorm room!  If you have a topic in mind, specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries can give you invaluable background information, as well as important keywords for researching the topic.

Encyclopedia of Children, Adolescents and the Media

Encyclopedia of New Media

Check out even more Communication E-Reference Resources.

Helpful Guides

There are also a couple of e-reference resources that can help answer your questions about research methodology.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods

  • This entry describes the Case Study methodology.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods


Key Communication Databases

Communication and Mass Media Complete This database includes full text for nearly 200 journals. Many major journals have indexing, abstracts, PDFs and searchable citations from their first issues to the present.

Communication Abstracts Abstracts articles from journals, conference proceedings and hard-to-find documents. Includes scientific research and government policies.

ComAbstracts  From the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship, this is a database of the abstracts of primary literature for communication studies.  Strong tools for browsing such as concept explorer, idea monkey, and index searches.

Article Database Search Tips

  • Use synonyms, brainstorm, and mine found resources
  • Notice controlled vocabulary, index, descriptor and subject terms.  Take good notes!
  • Check out the Help menu: every database has one!
  • Use truncation to search for all terms with the same root: child* for child, children and childhood
  • Combine terms with boolean operators: AND contains both terms, OR contains at least one term
  • Search phrases; quotes work for most databases
  • Use dropdown menu or radio buttons to limit search to fields such as title, subject, abstract, descriptors

Finding Articles in Full Text findit.gif

Once you have identified a useful article, check to see whether it is available in full text from that database.  You will see a link or an icon for an HTML or PDF version of the article (sometimes the full article is displayed below the abstract).  If the article is not available in full text through that database, it may still be available through another vendor.  Click the find it button to see if it is available.  This will take you to the 360Link screen:



APA Style

Publication manual for the American Psychological Association

  • Available for use in the library, this is the official guide to APA style.

OWL (Purdue University Online Writing Lab) - APA

  • OWL is a freely available online resource provided by Purdue University.  The OWL gives clear instructions for formatting your paper and bibliography in APA style.


Helpful Tips

Citing and Evaluating Resources

Video Tutorials

Villanova Writing Center

Library Workshop Handouts