Periodical articles (magazines, newspapers, trade publications, and scholarly journals) are excellent sources of current and/or specific information for research projects. Often, they are considered primary sources for research.
- The library databases listed below allow you to search for relevant articles by keywords and locate the full articles either online, in print in the library, or via Interlibrary Loan from another library.
- For help in identifying the top journals in communication studies, you can look at the National Communication Association's list of journals or the International Communication Association's list of journals. To see if we have NCA, ICA, or other scholarly journals at CSUN, follow the instructions below for searching a journal by title.
- In addition to searching the databases below, if you know the name of a journal and want to see if the Oviatt Library has it, search the Library Catalog by Journal Title . You can also identify the journals that cover communication studies by searching the Library Catalog by general keywords and including "periodicals" in the search, e.g., "communication periodicals." Note: any periodical title listed in the Library Catalog proceeded by [electronic resource] or [online] means that it is available in full-text via the Internet.
- Ulrichsweb.com (directory of periodicals, used to identify journals by title, subject; help determine if a journal is peer-reviewed, where it is indexed, if it is currently published, etc.)
- For a complete list of available databases, see Databases A-Z or Find Articles by Subject.
- Use the OneSearch box on the Library home page to search across most of the Library’s article databases and the Library catalog to get started. Watch our video tutorial or read the FAQ to learn more about OneSearch.
Good Databases to Start in:
- Communication and Mass Media Complete (EBSCOhost)
- Indexes and abstracts over 600 journals and trade publications; includes full text for over 240 journals. CMMC incorporates the content of CommSearch (formerly produced by the National Communication Association) and Mass Media Articles Index (formerly produced by Penn State). Subjects covered include communication studies, journalism, mass media, speech, linguistics, communicative disorders, deaf studies, advertising, and related areas of interest to practitioners and educators in these fields. Dates of coverage vary by journal.
- Academic Search Elite (EBSCOHost)
- Provides full text for nearly 1,850 periodicals, including more than 1,250 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to the full text, indexing and abstracts are provided for all 3,237 periodicals in the collection. This database offers information in nearly every area of academic study, including communication studies. Allows limiting search results to peer-reviewed scholarly journals.
- Gale Power Search
- Simultaneously access 11 Gale databases to locate magazine articles, trade publications, academic journal articles, news, reference books, Web sites, and multimedia resources. Includes "Viewpoint" (pro/con) essays and topic overviews on controversial issues from Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center in the "Books" results.
- Google Scholar
- Searches for scholarly materials such as peer-reviewed articles, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and reports across many disciplines and sources. On your first visit, go to Google Scholar Preferences and type "CSUN" in the box next to Library Links and click Find Library; check the box next to "CSU, Northridge (SFX Find It);"and click the Save Preferences button. Help is available for using Google Scholar.
- JStor provides electronic access to the full text of back issues of core journals in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Includes 12 classical studies journals, which is good for classical rhetoric research, and other journals of interest to communication studies researchers.
- Project MUSE
- Project Muse includes full-text scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences, including journals in film, theater, and performing arts; classics, language, and music. A list of the journals covered by Project MUSE is available.
- Sage Journals Online
- Full text access to journals in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences, including almost 20 communication and media studies journals.
Other Useful Databases:
- ABI/INFORM and ProQuest Business Databases
- Access to almost 3000 full- text business journals, many full text newspapers/newsletters and company reports, from 1971 to present. Good for articles on organizational communication, public relations, media business, and related areas.
- Computer Database (Gale)
- Indexes 659 computer journals with full text articles for about half, 1980-present. Use this database to find computer-related product introductions, news, reviews, and research in areas such as hardware, software, electronics, engineering, communications, Internet, virtual reality, multimedia, and the application of technology.
- Congressional Research Service Reports
- Research and analysis on public policy issues prepared for the U.S. Congress by nationally recognized experts. "CRS is committed to providing the Congress, throughout the legislative process, comprehensive and reliable analysis, research and information services that are timely, objective, nonpartisan, and confidential, thereby contributing to an informed national legislature."
- CQ Researcher
- CQ Researcher full-text reports offer in-depth, non-biased coverage of political and social issues, with regular reports on topics in health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the U.S. economy. Each 12,000-word report is a unique work, investigated and written by a seasoned journalist, including sections on background and chronology; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources. Note: Since the reports are written by journalists, it is not considered a scholarly journal. Coverage is from 1991 to the present.
- CQ Weekly
- Online weekly magazine provides in-depth reports on issues before the U.S. Congress, plus a complete summary of the previous week's news, including the status of bills in play, behind-the-scenes maneuvering, committee and floor activity, debates and all roll-call votes. Good source of current events and social issues. Coverage is from 1983 to present.
- eHRAF World Cultures
- eHRAF World Cultures is produced by Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) at Yale University. eHRAF is a cross-cultural database that contains over 350,000 pages of information on all aspects of cultural and social life for about 100 cultures. The annually-growing eHRAF database is unique in that the information is organized into cultures and ethnic groups and the full-text sources are subject-indexed at the paragraph level. There are over 300 cultures included in the print and microfiche copies of the Human Relations Area Files. The cultures covered in the microfiche collection as well as on the web are described at Human Relations Area Files--Cultures Covered. CSUN's microfiche collection is located on the 4th floor, East wing. There is a white binder at the Reference Desk in the Oviatt Library which lists the cultures available in microfiche or on the web.
- ERIC (EBSCOHost)
- The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is a digital library of education-related resources. It indexes and abstracts over 750 journal titles in education and related fields, including communication studies, and has recently begun to add full text articles. In addition, thousands of research reports and other non-journal documents ("ERIC Documents") such as conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books, curriculum guides, lesson plans, and test evaluation instruments are included. ERIC is also an excellent source for locating communication association conference papers. More than 107,000 of the ERIC Documents issued 1993-present are available online in full text for free. In addition, the CSUN Library owns most ERIC documents on microfiche from 1966-2004.
- Ethnic NewsWatch (ProQuest)
- Full text articles from more than 270 ethnic, minority and native press publications, including newspapers, magazines and journals, 1960 to present.
- Film & Television Literature Index (EBSCOHost)
- Indexes over 350 U.S. and international film and television periodicals, including popular magazines, scholarly journals, and trade publications. In addition, selected content is chosen from thousands of additional publications that contain relevant content. Dates of coverage vary.
- GenderWatch (ProQuest)
- Contains unique and diverse publications that focus on how gender impacts a broad spectrum of subject areas. With archival material dating back to 1970, GenderWatch is a repository of an important historical perspective on the evolution of both the women's movement and major changes in gender roles.
- International Political Science Abstracts (EBSCOHost)
- Includes current indexing and abstracts of the nearly 900 journals in political science, from 1989 to the present.
- LexisNexis Academic
- LexisNexis Academic is a full-text database containing news, legal, biographical, and business information from over 12,000 publications. Click on Easy Search (default) or Power Search from the General Searching toolbar, or News from the toolbar to search newspapers and other sources of news. Note: Easy Search does not use Boolean (AND, OR, NOT) operators and searches large groups of the most popular sources, including news, legal, people, companies, and countries. The News "All News" search option allows Boolean logic, searching within specific parts of a document (headline and lead paragraph, author/byline, etc.), and the ability to search more specific sources, such as "U.S. Newspapers and Wires," "Major World Publications," "Blogs," TV and radio news "broadcast transcripts," and "news wires." In addition, the News search, allows easy limits to reviews, editorials, and obituaries. Dates of coverage in LexisNexis vary by publication. NOTE: Due to publisher restrictions, Lexis Nexis Academic users may only access the latest 6 months of the Los Angeles Times. Use Proquest Newspapers for complete coverage of the Los Angeles Times online.
- Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (EBSCOHost)
- Issues such as freedom of speech, censorship, Internet filtering, and technology's effect on communication are covered in the library and information science journals, which are indexed and abstracted in LISTA.
- Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (CSA)
- LLBA covers all aspects of the study of language including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Complete coverage is also given to various fields of linguistics including descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical and geographical linguistics. In addition, major areas of coverage include interpersonal behavior and communication, nonverbal communication, semiotics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. Over 1,200 periodicals and serials are covered since 1973.
- MLA International Bibliography (Gale)
- MLA International Bibliography, which is a publication of the Modern Language Association of America, covers literatures, languages, linguistics, and folklore. From 1926 to present, it provides author and subject indexing to over 4,000 journals, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies.
- ProQuest Newspapers
- Full text for 500+ U.S. and international news sources. Includes coverage of 150+ major U.S. newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune, plus hundreds of other news sources and news wires. Click the More Search Options link from the main search screen to reveal choices for limiting by Document Type, such as editorial, speech, and review.
- PsycINFO (EBSCOHost)
- PsycINFO or Psychological Abstracts, from the American Psychological Association (APA), contains nearly 2.3 million citations and summaries of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations, all in psychology and related disciplines, dating as far back as the 1800s. Ninety-seven percent of the covered material is peer-reviewed. Journal coverage, which spans 1887 to present, includes international material selected from approximately 2,050 periodicals in more than 25 languages.
- Sociological Abstracts (CSA)
- Sociological Abstracts abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences from 1963 to present. The database provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,700 serials publications, and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. Records added after 1974 contain in-depth and non-evaluative abstracts of journal articles.
- Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts
- Indexes books and journal articles on education, employment, women in the family, medicine and health, gender role socialization, social policy, the social psychology of women, female culture, media treatment of women, biography, literary criticism and historical studies. Coverage: 1995-
Developing a Search Strategy
- Once you have chosen a topic, write it down in the form of a question or brief statement:
What is the relationship between SAT scores and college success?
- Underline the key words and phrases that are most specific to your topic.
What is the relationship between SAT scores and college success?
- Write down each key word or phrase, and underneath it, list synonyms or related terms.
Use a dictionary or thesaurus to find additional keywords. For example:
- scholastic aptitude test
- Think about the singular, plural, and other endings of words and write down the root of the word.
- scholastic aptitude test
- college, colleges -- college
- university, universities -- universit
- success, successful, succeed -- succe
- achievement, achieve, achiever -- achieve
- Write down your key words and phrases along with their synonyms in the form of a Boolean search statement. Use the root word, and truncate it with an asterisk (*). Note: Different databases use different truncation or wildcard symbols. Check the database's help page. For example:
(SAT or scholastic aptitude test) and (college* or universit*) and (sucee* or achieve*)
Boolean operators are words (or, and, not) used to connect search terms to expand (or) or narrow (and, not) a search within a database to locate relevant information. Boolean operators are also called logical operators or connectors.
It is helpful to diagram the effects of these operators:
women or females
|Or retrieves records that contain any of the search terms. It expands the search. Therefore, use "or" in between terms that have the same meaning (synonyms) or equal value to the search.|
women and media
|And retrieves records that contain all of the search terms. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "and" in between terms that are required to make the search specific.|
image not weight
|Not eliminates records that contain a search term. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "not" in front of a term to ensure that the search will not include that term. Warning: Some databases use "and not" instead of "not." Check the database help screen.|
- Most databases allow for a symbol to be used at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word. This is known as truncation.
- Using truncation will broaden your search. For example,
bank* will retrieve: bank or banks or banking or banker or bankruptcy, etc.
- Databases and Internet search engines use different symbols to truncate. In general, most of the Library's databases use the asterisk (*) ; however, the exclamation point (!) is used in LexisNexis. Check the database help screen to find the correct truncation symbol.
- Be careful using truncation. Truncating after too few letters will retrieve terms that are not relevant. For example:
cat* will also retrieve cataclysm, catacomb, catalepsy, catalog, etc.
It's best to use the boolean operator "or" in these instances (cat or cats).
Check for Full Text Using Find Text
If the article isn't available full text in the database you are searching, click the button to see if we have access to the full text through another database or in print. A new page opens that will have one or more of the following links:
- Full text available via [database name]: Click to access the full-text online. If the link takes you to a publication-level page, you can navigate to the article by first choosing the correct year, then the correct month or volume number, then the issue, and then selecting the article from the displayed table of contents.
- We have this. Check availability in CSU Northridge Catalog: We have the article in print. Click to view the catalog record for the journal or magazine. You'll need to note the call number and then go to the fourth floor to get the article.
- Request document via Interlibrary Loan: We do not have the article online or in print. You can request the article via interlibrary loan (takes approximately ten working days).
For more information, see About Find Text.
Access Databases from Off Campus
Only current CSUN students, faculty and staff can access our databases from off campus. To access the databases from off campus, click the name of the database. You will then see a screen asking you to log in, using your CSUN User ID and password (the same ID and password you use to log in to the portal).