Skip to Main Content

CMTH 230G: Introduction to Communication Theory: Finding Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed Articles

This guide is focused on the research assignment for CMTH230G.

Below, see suggested library collections that may help you find information about your communication phenomenon, artifact, or event. They may also have information related to your theory that can help you apply it to your phenomenon, artifact, or event

You will also find suggestions to help you build and troubleshoot your searches and a review of what scholarly and peer-reviewed sources are. 

Suggested Library Databases & Collections

Start Your Search Right Now With EBSCO Discovery Service

Building & Troubleshooting Your Searches

Search Keywords

Library tools and databases default to a keyword search. With this type of search, the database looks for every instance of your search keyword or keywords as you typed them. If that word or word(s) appear anywhere in the:

  • title
  • summary
  • publication information
  • metadata
  • text or content of the source

That source will be in your results list, regardless of how much information it provides about your idea or topic.

Because of this, it often helps to be exact and precise with your keywords. What words have the most meaning for your topic? What are the main ideas that describe your topic or the information you are looking for? What language or terminology do experts use to discuss the topic? Are there synonyms that people might use instead? Related ideas? Specific examples? All of these may make good keywords. You can also combine keywords using the connection words AND (both keywords have to appear) or OR (one or the other keywords should appear) or group ideas as a phrase within quotation marks.

Example:  "cognitive dissonance" and "fear of missing out" or fomo

Search Filters and Limiters

Many library databases will let you filter your results by:

  • Full-Text (apply if you want to be able to access, view, or read whatever you see in the results immediately, otherwise know that you may just see publication information for things you will then need to request through interlibrary loan)
  • At my library (any full-text online sources and also physical items, like books, in the library collection)
  • Date or Publication Date
  • Source Type (use if you only want to search for specific types of content - like journal articles, books, newspapers, streaming video, etc).
  • Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed (apply to see only these types of sources)

Sometimes you can choose these options when you first enter your search but sometimes you need to apply them after you have a search started.

Accessing Full Text

If you selected Full Text as a search filter, you should see a link somewhere on the page to the PDF or HTML text version of the source. Depending on the database, this link may be in different places or could be labeled a little differently.

Sometimes you may see Open in..., View record in..., or Full-Text Finder in EBSCO Discovery Service, which means the source is located in another database. It's usually just a few more clicks to get to the PDF or HTML text in its original location in that case.

Troubleshooting Your Searches - What To Do If You Get Stuck

If you're getting stuck and either have very few results or many that are not useful, try the following:

  • Adjust your search keywords
  • Check your search filters and add filters or remove filters you may have applied before
  • Try switching to a different collection, database, or resource. Sometimes the one you're searching just isn't a good fit for your topic or the information you are looking for. 
  • Ask for help, from a librarian, or your professor 

Review - What Are Scholarly & Peer-Reviewed Sources?

This assignment asks you to use scholarly and peer-reviewed sources. 

What does scholarly mean?

It means the work (usually a book, book chapter, or article) is:

  • written by scholars, experts, or researchers
  • intended to be read by other scholars, experts, and researchers in the same field or discipline who have familiarity with the topic or subject
  • detailing a research study or studies, including original research, methodology, theory, and/or experimentation, analysis, or conclusions
  • sometimes these sources are also referred to as being 'academic'

What does peer-reviewed mean?

Peer-reviewed sources meet the same criteria above, but their content has also gone through an intensive feedback process before publication. During this process:

  • other experts or scholars in that same field review the article for accuracy and the findings or conclusions for validity
  • the authors make edits and changes based on that feedback and review if they can
  • if changes and issues can be addressed, the article is published
  • if problems and issues can't be addressed, the article or source does not pass peer-review, is rejected, and never published

Essays and books may go through peer-review, but more commonly, a peer-reviewed source takes the form of an article in an academic journal. All peer-reviewed sources are scholarly, but not all scholarly sources have been peer-reviewed.