the best resources to use for research involves several factors, including
assignment requirements, currency of the research topic, and the depth
of coverage needed.
- Periodicals (magazines, newspapers, trade publications, and scholarly or peer-reviewed journals) are excellent sources of current and/or specific information
for research projects. Often, they are considered primary sources for research.
- Why not use Wikipedia? View this video (Flash) from the Rutgers University Libraries on why Wikipedia is not the best
source to use for research assignments.
- Periodical indexes or databases allow you to search for keywords to help you identify relevant articles. All of the databases listed below
provide the full text for most of the articles they index.
- It's a good idea to formulate a search
strategy before using a periodical database.
- Databases can be searched using Boolean
Logic (AND, OR, NOT) and truncation/wildcards symbols (*, ?, etc.) to combine keywords and phrases to locate articles on specific topics.
- For a complete list of available databases, see Databases
- FYI, you can also connect to the Library's databases and full-text periodicals
from off campus
- Databases listed below that include this image allow you to limit search results to scholarly journal articles
Good Places to Start:
- Allows you to search up to 10 Library periodical and reference resource
databases using a common interface. Includes many databases that access
scholarly journal articles, which will be indicated by in the results list.
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
- Simultaneously access 11 Gale databases to locate magazine articles,
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 in Context in the "books" results.
- 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.
- Full text articles from more than 270 ethnic, minority and native press
publications, including newspapers, magazines and journals, 1960 to present.
- 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
Viewpoints In Context (Gale)
- Search or browse controversial issues. Features "viewpoint articles"
(pro/con arguments), topic overviews, full-text magazine, academic journal,
and newspaper articles; primary source documents, statistics, images and
podcasts, and links to web sites. Updated daily.
- 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.
Books & Media
Books and media may be searched in the Library
Catalog by author, title, Library
of Congress Subject Heading, or keyword.
For books not held by the Oviatt Library, request an Interlibrary
Loan, but allow about 2 weeks.
Facts, Opinions & Statistics
The following web sites can lead you to facts, opinions, statistics, and
background information to support your research.
Factfinder (Population, housing, economic, and geographic data.)
- Credo Reference ("Online reference collection providing access to a selection of over 240 reference works, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies and books of quotations.")
- Government Reference Sources (Full text government reference sources organized by broad topic, e.g., education, crime, population, etc.)
- Gale Virtual
Reference Library (encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference
Publications on Social Issues
- Public Opinion
Polls and Surveys
In addition to the databases and Web sites listed above, the Internet can
be a valuable source of information. However, remember to think critically about the authority,
accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage of the information you
find, and check with your instructor to see if you can use the Internet
as a resource. In addition to Google, consider using other search engines:
- Google Advanced - (allows Boolean logic and limiting results by domain, such as .org, .gov, etc.)
- Google Scholar - (searches scholarly journals and other academic sources--Click on link to "Scholar Preferences" and search "CSUN" in the "Library Links" box to access the Oviatt Library's catalog to help locate the full text if not immediately available in Google Scholar.)
- SearchEngineWatch - (comprehensive directory of search engines by type)
Critically Evaluating Sources
In addition to the information retrieved from library databases and the Web sites listed above, the free Internet
can be a valuable source of information, too. However, as is the case with all resources you use, remember to think critically
about the authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage of
the information you find.
Citing Your Sources
Prepared by Katherine
Dabbour, Communication Studies Librarian