Blackwell Library

 

Holloway Hall

CMAT101 Research Guide
INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION STUDIES

Getting Help

Hi, I'm Krista Knapp, your friendly reference/instructional librarian, and I'm here to help you!

How to get in touch with me:

  • In my office, BL128 (best to make an appointment)

  • By email: kmknapp@salisbury.edu

  • By phone: 410-677-0118

Other sources of help:

Background Information

Reference sources are a good place to start your research.  What is a reference source?  A reference source is something you consult for a specific piece of information, not something you read from cover to cover.  Reference sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, thesauri, atlases, almanacs, directories, etc.  Blackwell Library's reference collection is located on the main floor.  Consult the Library of Congress Classification outline to see the call number area for your topic.

Why can't I just use Wikipedia, you ask? Well, anybody and their brother can get on Wikipedia and write whatever they want, for starters!  Plus, there are tons of more reliable, authoritative sources out there for you to use.  And, I just can't resist sharing my favorite Colbert Report clip about the downfalls of Wikipedia.  View it here (and please ignore the brief commercial at the beginning!):

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/72347/july-31-2006/the-word---wikiality

 

 

Finding Books

Find books in Blackwell Library using our online library catalog.  Books in our library are arranged using Library of Congress Classification.  The books you can check out are located on the second floor of the library.  If you ever have trouble finding a book you want, PLEASE ask for help at the Research Desk!

You can also find books in other USMAI Libraries by selecting the "choose campus" link at the top of the catalog page and then selecting "USMAI All Campuses."  When you find a book you want that is not in Blackwell, click the "request" button and use your ID number to login.  You can have the book delivered to Blackwell within 3 or 4 days.  This tutorial shows you how it's done!

 

Finding Articles

Why should you use the library databases and not Google to find articles?

Most of the time, scholarly publications are not available to the general public, nor are they available for free on the internet.  Individuals or organizations (such as a library) subscribe to these publications.  Because subscriptions are expensive, many choose to access this content through libraries. 

Often, content from scholarly journals is indexed in databases that the library subscribes to.  The content is on the web, but it is not accessible unless you are affiliated with the institution that is subscribing.  It isn’t the same thing as just finding a website through a regular Google search.  Sometimes the full text of the article is available through the database; other times it is only a citation to the article and you will need to find the print version of the article in the library or order the article through interlibrary loan if we don’t subscribe to it.

So, basically what I'm saying is that the only way you can access this scholarly information for free is by using the library databases! 

Here are some databases that should be useful for finding scholarly articles:   (Note: You will be asked to log in with your Gull Card barcode number if you are off campus.)

  • Academic Search Complete - a multidisciplinary database containing both scholarly and popular sources, many of which have full-text available.  ASP is a good place to start your research.  Use the FindIt button to locate articles that are not available full-text.
     
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete - our new database for Communication and Media studies!  An EBSCO database like Academic Search Complete, you will find both scholarly, popular and trade sources as well as full text and citations.
     
  • JSTOR - a huge, wonderful database of scholarly communication from a wide variety of disciplines.  Almost all of the articles are full text, but the newest full text documents are 3-5 years old.

  WHAT DOES THAT CUTE LITTLE FIND IT BUTTON DO, ANYWAY?

It's a bit like magic, really.  The Find It button does three things:

  • Looks in all of our databases to see if the document you want is available full-text in another of our databases.  If so, it links you to it!

  • Links you to the library catalog when we have the item you want in print or microform.

  • Links you to ILLiad (interlibrary loan) so you can borrow the item from another library if we don't have access electronically or in print.

The Find It button is YOUR FRIEND!!!

This tutorial lets you see the FIND IT BUTTON in action!

AND, this tutorial gives you a little insight about Interlibrary Loan!

Scholarly V. Popular Sources: A Showdown!

Here are the basics: (Check out this handy dandy chart for more information!)

Popular Magazines/Newspapers:

  • glossy, pretty pages with lots of advertisements and pictures

  • written by hired reporters for a general audience

  • short, easily read articles

Scholarly Journals:

  • somewhat dull looking - very few pictures or advertisements

  • written by experts in the field and reviewed by other scholars before publication

  • long articles with citations and bibliographies at the end

And about literature reviews!

Some links for you to check out:

 

Evaluating Websites

Always make sure that internet resources are appropriate for your project.  Look at the criteria listed on this websiteIf you have questions about the appropriateness of a website, please check with your professor or a librarian.

Citing your work

Plagiarism is not cool.  Of course you want to make sure you give proper credit to any source that you use to write your papers, whether you directly quote or paraphrase. 
This guide helps students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it:

This guide should help you cite your work. 

I also really like the guide by the OWL at Purdue.

 


 
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The library liaison to Communication is Stephen Ford,
saford@salisbury.edu | 410-677-0118