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Background Information: Overview

The reference books and websites listed below can provide valuable background information related to communication studies research and related disciplines. To identify additional titles, search the Library Catalog  or WorldCat.org by keyword, combining your topic with terms such as "encyclopedias," "handbooks," or "dictionaries,"  e.g., "critical theory handbooks." Note: Titles listed below are either linked to the library catalog record, which lists the location of the print source in the Oviatt Library, or to the online resource or website.

Research Methods Help

COMS Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

General Reference Sources

  • Britannica Online (Includes access to Encyclopedia Britannica, Merriam-Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus, plus other general reference tools.)
  • Creating an Annotated Bibliography
  • Gale Directory Library (Online access to directories: Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media; Brands and their Companies; Business Rankings Annual; Consultants and Consulting Organizations Directory; Encyclopedia of Associations: National Organizations of the U.S.; Market Share Reporter; and Scholarships, Fellowships & Loans among others.) 
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library (Online access to over 100 encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources.)
  • Oxford English Dictionary (Includes definitions and etymologies for most of the words in the English language.)
  • Statistical Data Sources