University Library at St. Cloud State University

CMST 200: Gateway to Communication Studies

About this guide
This research guide is designed specifically for you as CMST 200 students. The topics and resources included here are pulled from the library website and directly support the learning and research you will do in your Communication Studies classes. Login with your StarID and password to access the full text of articles, streaming media, and other resources.

question mark iconYou will be completing a worksheet based on this research guide. You can find all of the answers to the worksheet on this web page. Resources with the orange question mark icon correspond to specific questions on the worksheet.
Explore Communication Studies topics
SAGE Reference Online
Provides access to 90 full-text specialized encyclopedias that offer excellent background information on a topic.
  • 21st Century Communication: A Reference Handbook
    A comprehensive overview of communication theory, offering current descriptions of theories as well as the background issues and concepts that comprise these theories.
  • Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships
    Addresses a broad range of topics including theoretical and methodological issues that influence the study of personal relationships; individual differences and their influences on relationships; relationship processes such as cognition, emotion, and communication; environmental influences on personal relationships; and maintenance and repair of relationships.
  • Encyclopedia of Communication Theory
    A comprehensive overview of communication theory, offering current descriptions of theories as well as the background issues and concepts that comprise these theories.
  • Encyclopedia of Group Processes & Intergroup Relations
    Covers concepts ranging from conformity to diversity and from small group interaction to intergroup relations on a global scale.
Using databases to find scholarly articles
To find scholarly articles on your topic, you need to search library databases. The main database for Communication Studies is Communication & Mass Media Complete. This database searches the contents of journals that have a focus on communication studies and mass media.

Other databases search a different collection of journals. If your topic is related to gender or race, you should also search GenderWatch or Ethnic NewsWatch as these databases search the contents of publications that are less mainstream and that focus more on voices that are traditionally marginalized. Try searching at least two databases to find different perspectives on your topic.

Communication & Mass Media Complete
The main database for Communication Studies and Mass Communications. Searches over 600 journal titles that support research in communication, mass media, linguistics, language learning and related fields of study.

Search the library's physical collection (books, movies, music, government publications, etc.) along with online journals and e-books to which the Library subscribes -- all in a single search.

Ethnic NewsWatch
Articles from over 200 newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press. Provides in-depth coverage of a wide range of current and historical topics. Limit the Source Type to "Scholarly Journals" for peer-reviewed articles.

Articles on topics like sexuality, religion, societal roles, feminism, masculinity, eating disorders, day care, and the workplace that support LGBT studies, family studies, gender studies, and women's studies with a unique interdisciplinary approach. Click the check box to limit results to "Peer-reviewed" for scholarly articles.
National Communication Association journals
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Several of the most important journals in Communication Studies are published by the National Communication Association. You can find the articles in the Communication & Mass Media Complete database and you can also browse them below. Note that most articles from the past 18 months are not directly available in full text. To obtain these articles, click on the FindIt! button and order through Interlibrary Loan. You will receive the article via email within one to three days.

Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies NCA logo
Communication Education
Communication Monographs
Communication Teacher
Critical Studies in Media Communication
Free Speech Yearbook
Journal of Applied Communication Research
Journal of International and Intercultural Communication
Quarterly Journal of Speech
Review of Communication
Text and Performance Quarterly

question mark iconCommunication Currents
An online professional/trade magazine from the National Communication Association that translates current communication scholarship published in scholarly journals into a form that is understandable and usable for broad audiences, including communication experts working with the general public, instructors, and students.
Search for streaming video
question mark iconFilms on Demand: Communication Restricted Resource Resource contains video
Streaming video on topics in interpersonal and group communication, principles of human communication, mass communications, and more.

Kanopy: Media & Communications
Find online videos that encourage critical thinking about the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media, with a special focus on representations of gender and race. 

Communication TEDx Talks Unrestricted Resource Resource contains video
TEDx talks given by Communication scholars from across the nation and around the world.
Communication books in the Library
Books and More (Library Catalog)
Search for books, ebooks, video, government publications, recordings, music scores, and other materials available through the library.  


Books on Communication Studies have call numbers beginning with P87 - P96 and P99 and are located on the basement level

P94.7=Interpersonal communication
P95-P95.6=Oral communication
P99.5-P99.6=Nonverbal communication
Databases for popular articles
MasterFILE Premier Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit elm database
Popular magazines covering all subject areas. Includes Consumer Reports, Parenting, Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, People, and thousands of other titles.

Cite your sources
question mark iconDocumenting the sources you use in your research is extremely important. By properly referencing and citing your sources, you are not only using information ethically, but you are also giving your ideas more validity by demonstrating how you've engaged with and incorporated the research of Communication Studies scholars.

Typically, researchers in Communication Studies use APA citation style to format their papers and reference lists.
Check with your professor to see what your requirements are. If your professor requires MLA citation style, use these links:
Avoiding plagiarism
plagiarism tutorial image
Complete the Introduction, Logistics, and Exercises sections. Use the "I am a guest" option under Exercises.
Guidelines for Correct and Ethical Paraphasing (from "Plagiarizing and Academic Dishonesty")
  • Say what the original says but no more.
  • Do not use the same words.
  • Do not distort source’s meaning.
  • Paraphrase should be about as long as the original.
  • The sentence structure should NOT mirror the original.
  • Include citation for every paraphrase!
Library services
Library Access from Off Campus
View instructions and get help with troubleshooting.

Student Study Rooms
Reserve student study rooms for group work, available on the second and third floors of the Library.

Equipment Check Out
VIsit the Circulation Desk to borrow digital cameras, camcorders, projectors, and other equipment.

Write Place
The Write Place offers one-on-one tutoring at any stage in the writing process. Make an online appointment or visit Webster Hall 117 or University Library 135E. 
Understanding scholarly sources
Journal covers image

From Idea to Library
Video tutorial on how scholarly articles are written, published, and made accessible to researchers and students. From the NCSU Libraries.

Scholarly and Popular Materials (NCSU)

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Popular vs. Scholarly Articles: A Guide and Tutorial
Popular vs. scholarly practice
Compare and contrast the following articles. Can you decide what type of periodical each is from (scholarly, trade/professional, or popular)?
Search tips for library databases
  • Search by concepts, taking out common words like effect, affect, good, bad, etc.
  • Using AND focuses or limits your search (you get fewer results). Using OR broadens or expands your search (you get more results).
  • Use * to search for different word endings (child* searches child, child's, children, children's but also childbirth) and plurals.
  • Use quotation marks around phrases.
  • Try the Advanced Search. Change the "field" you are search using the pull down menu (for example, search for keywords only in the "Title" of an article).
Locating full text articles
When searching library databases, you will sometimes see a direct link to the PDF version of the article. If you don't see this link, look for the Find It! button.

Find It iconThis button will take you to a screen that shows you how to get access to the full text of the article you need. You will see one or more options:
  1. A link to another online source with the full text available,
  2. A link to the Library Catalog to check for a print copy in the library, and/or
  3. A link to Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
To order an article through interlibrary loan, enter your StarID and password, then click the check box and Submit Request. You will receive an email with a link to the full text of the article, usually within two days.
Finding articles after you graduate
After you graduate from SCSU, you can still access scholarly journal articles through ELM (eLibraryMN). You may need a barcode or identification number from your local public library to sign into these databases.

ELM: Electronic Library for Minnesota Unrestricted Resource elm database
ELM (eLibraryMN) gives Minnesota residents online access to magazine, journal, newspaper and encyclopedia articles; media including images, videos, audio files; and other information resources via a selection of databases.

On the eLibraryMN homepage, click  All Databases. Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, and several other databases are available for you to search.

If you find an article that isn't available in full text, you may be able to order it through interlibrary loan at your public library.
Fake news vs. legitimate sources
Subject Specialist
Picture: Melissa Prescott

Melissa Prescott
Professor, Diversity and Inclusion Librarian
MC 204E
(320) 308-4751

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