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COMM 832: Methods in Communication History

To start your research

Part I (15 minutes)
  1. Look up your topic or a related concept in an encyclopedia or dictionary.
    • Note any keywords that might be useful for researching your topic.
    • Jot down a few synonyms for those keywords.
    • Keep these in mind--add to and change your keywords as needed throughout this exercise.
  2. Find one article on your topic in JSTOR.
    • Try out the Text Analyzer
    • Use the Cite This button to create a citation in Chicago style.
  3. Pick one other Research Database.
    • Find one item of interest.
    • Note any useful (or challenging) features.
    • Use the Cite This button to create a citation in Chicago style.
Part II (10-15 minutes)
  1. Use the Library Catalog, Library Guide, etc. to find Journalism History.
    • There are several database options for viewing this journal--the range of coverage varies by database.
    • Make sure to select the option that includes the year(s) you want to view.
  2. Record the call number and subject of one book on your topic.
  3. Use Worldcat to find another book on your topic.
Part III (15 minutes)
  1. Pick one Primary Source Database.
    • Find one item of interest.
    • Note any useful (or challenging) features.
    • If available, use the Cite This button to create a citation in Chicago style.
  2. Pick one Newspaper Database.
    • Note any useful (or challenging) features.
    • Find one item of interest.
    • If available, use the Cite This button to create a citation in Chicago style.
  3. Finished early? Try using the Library Catalog, Library Guide, etc. to find the Christian Science Monitor, the Wichita Eagle, or the New York Times.
    • What years are not covered by the library?
    • What database(s) offer this newspaper.
    • What view(s) are available--full text, image, ads?

Hints

Part I (15 minutes)
  1. Use the Background Research page of this guide to find encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works.
  2. ​JSTOR is linked from the Research Databases page of this guide.
    • Use the advanced search filter by discipline to limit your search to History.
    • Once you're in JSTOR, you'll see the Text Analyzer on the main page.
    • Paste an abstract, several keywords, or other text into the Analyzer to search for similar content in JSTOR. 
  3. See the Research Databases page of this guide.
    • For best results, use the advanced search.
Part II (10-15 minutes)
  1. The quickest way to find a journal is to type the title--in quotes--into SmartSearch or the Library Catalog and search by Title.
    • SmartSearch and the Catalog are available on the Library home page.
    • Keep clicking until you see a link called "Click here for available full text of this journal."
    • You'll notice that we have full coverage online as well as many print copies.
  2. A book's call number tells you where it is on the shelf.
    • You can find the call number in the Library Catalog linked from the Books page of this guide.
    • Try some of the strategies listed at the bottom of the Books page to find more books on your topic. 
  3. Worldcat is linked from the Books page of this guide.
Part III (15 minutes)
  1. Each database has special features -- it's not usually possible to search more than one database at a time. 
  2. Newspaper Databases contain hundreds of Newspapers in a single database.
    • They can be text only or images of full newspaper pages.
    • Searching can be complex -- ask for help if you need it!
  3. Newspaper Databases contain hundreds of Newspapers in a single database.
    • They can be text only or images of full newspaper pages.
    • Sometimes newspapers are only available on microfilm.
    • If we don't have the microfilm here, you can request it via ILL.
    • Newspaper searching can be complex -- ask for help if you need it! 
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