University Library at St. Cloud State University

CMST 200: Gateway to Communication Studies (Online)

About this activity
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.

Be sure to watch the videos that are included on this guide, read the descriptions for each section, and go ahead and search the resources to see how they work.

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.

Introduction from your librarian, Melissa Prescott


Direct YouTube link:
Reference works for Communication Studies
These links point you to reference works that are specific to Communication Studies and that define key concepts, terms, and theories as they relate to the discipline. Each one lets you search or browse by topic or keyword.

question mark imageSAGE 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.
Understanding the peer review process
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 you are doing research that intersects with race or gender, it is essential that you also search Ethnic NewsWatch or GenderWatch. These databases let you search for publications that aren't always available in mainstream sources and that reflect the viewpoints of traditionally marginalized groups. Try searching at least two databases to find different perspectives on your topic.

Communication & Mass Media Complete Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit database
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.

LibSearch Unrestricted Resource Some full text availabledatabase
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 Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit database
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.

GenderWatch Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit database
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
question mark icon
Several of the most important journals in Communication Studies are published by the  National Communication Association. You can find the articles in Communication & Mass Media Complete 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.
Communication books in the Library

Search for Books in the Library


Miller Center Basement
Books on Communication Studies have call numbers beginning with P87 - P96 and P99

P94.7=Interpersonal communication
P95-P95.6=Oral communication
P99.5-P99.6=Nonverbal communication
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!
Subject Specialist
Picture: Melissa Prescott

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

Understanding scholarly sources
Watch the video and then complete the Popular vs. scholarly practice box below.
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
Library databases contain scholarly information that is not usually freely available through Google. Searching the databases can be challenging because they work differently than Google.
  • 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)

If you see a link to Request through Interlibrary Loan, click it and then click Send Request. You will need to be logged in with your StarID and password. You will receive an email with a link to the full text of the article, usually within two days.
Search for films and video
The Library has an extensive collection of films and movies that are streaming online or available for check out.

Search for Videos and DVDs in the Library
You may also browse titles on the first floor in the library. All videos can be borrowed at the Circulation Desk.

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 Education Foundation) Restricted Resource Resource contains video
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.
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.

Fake news vs. legitimate sources
The Problem With Fake News (and how our students can solve it)

YouTube link:

 fake news image
Finding articles after you graduate
elm logo
After you graduate from SCSU, you can still access scholarly journal articles through ELM (Electronic Library of Minnesota). 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

On the ELM 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.

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