your friendly research/instructional librarian, and the liaison
to the Communications Department. I'm here to
with your research for
CMAT297. It is my hope that you will take full advantage
of this comprehensive guide as you complete your assignments for
this online course. You will find text, links, and video
tutorials to help guide you through the process. And if
you get stuck along the way, you can always come to me for
Famous "Research is a Process Speech" for online
Since I don't have
the luxury of holding you as a captive audience where you can
hear the passion and fire in my voice as I deliver my famous
"research is a process speech," you are going to have to settle
for the not-as-big-of-an-impact-yet-still-meaningful text
One of the biggest
mistakes I see students make is assuming that research is easy
or that they can go to one place and get every little resource
their heart desires. It just isn't so! Otherwise,
the world would not need uber-resourceful librarians such as
myself! The trick to research is learning that it's a
process and one that is best embarked upon by a patient,
open-minded and curious individual. Be willing to
experiment with different keywords and terms, in different
combinations. Not finding enough items? Try
broadening your search. Finding way too much? Narrow
down your search by adding more terms! Try playing with
the limiters in a database. Heck, try lots of different
databases. I shouldn't have to say that, but alas, I feel
I do. Be willing to accept sources that are not in
super-convenient electronic format. Go get a dusty journal
off the shelf and make a photocopy, direct borrow a book from
another USM campus, put those ILL people to work to get
something for you! Find an article that is perfect, then
look at that article's bibliography for additional sources.
It would be great if you kept a little journal of your progress,
noting where you have searched and what terms you have used.
Make note of what has worked the best.
remember that librarians are your friends and love to do
research. We're here to help! All you have to do is
You will need to find and use scholarly resources for your
assignments. Students are often perplexed by this concept
of scholarly resources. See below for the lowdown:
Understanding Scholarly Communication
Here are the basics: (Check
handy dandy chart for more information!)
glossy, pretty pages
with lots of advertisements and pictures
written by hired
reporters for a general audience
short, easily read
looking - very few pictures or advertisements
written by experts
in the field and reviewed by other scholars before
long articles with
citations and bibliographies at the end
Why can't you just use Wikipedia to get
Wikipedia can be useful for some
research, especially popular culture topics, and particularly
when the entries are well-documented with citations.
However, it should NEVER be cited in an academic paper. We
have so many authoritative, high-quality resources available in
the library and accessible online, that you have no excuse not
to use them, especially when you have this super helpful
If you need background information
on Communications topics, try a
Why should you
use the library and not just use Google to find some good
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 who is subscribing.
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!
Books in Blackwell
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! There is also a
form to fill out for books that are supposed to be on the
shelf but aren't where they are supposed to be.
Here is a short online tutorial showing you how to
the SU Catalog.
It's a little out of date because it shows the old website in
the beginning, but the rest of it is fine. There is a new
quick search box for books on the library homepage that will
take you into the catalog. Check it out!
Books from other USMAI
You can also borrow books from any of the USMAI affiliations 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.
Here is a short online tutorial showing you how to do
Books from Interlibrary
Interlibrary Loan is a great tool that
allows you to borrow a book from libraries outside the USMAI
system. Before you submit a request, make sure that we don't
own the book here at SU or at one of the other USMAI
institutions. If not, you can submit a request through
You can also search
Worldcat, which is a huge catalog of materials from
libraries all over the world. If the book you want is in a
library, chances are pretty good you will find it in Worldcat!
If you find the book you want and you know it is not available
at SU or any USMAI campus, then you can click the Find It button
and then request the book through Interlibrary Loan. The
advantage of doing it this way is that you don't have to fill in
all the information about the book!
Click here to go to the
Interlibrary Loan webpage.
Here is a short online tutorial showing you how to do
Here is a short online tutorial showing you how to use
NOTE:Some tutorials have
not been updated since we got the new library website, but they
should still be helpful. Let me know if you have
You are going
to need scholarly research articles on communications topics for
this class. If you need a review of what that means, check
out this page.
databases that might be useful, depending on your topic. If
you need help selecting the appropriate ones, let me know.
However, it is a good idea to check out any that seem remotely
relevant. The best articles could be lurking where you least
NOTE: If you're
off campus, a window will pop up asking for your affiliation
with the University of Maryland system and then you will need to
type in the 14 digit barcode on the back of your Gull Card as
well as your last name.
MULTIDISCIPLINARY & NEWSPAPERS:
Academic Search Complete
- a multidisciplinary database from EBSCO with a mix of
scholarly and popular resources, a lot of full-text and Find
It links when there is no full-text available
full-text resources; the newest documents are 3-5 years old.
- this database contains full-text world news, legal and
- a collection of full-text major newspapers including
The New York Times and
America: History and Life - covers
United States and Canadian history, both full text articles
and citations for others with Find-It buttons.
Business Source Premier - company,
industry, business information with the familiar EBSCO
Columbia International Affairs Online -
full text theory, research, and case studies on
Communication & Mass Media Complete - our 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. This is
probably the single best database to find scholarly
CQ Weekly - Congressional Quarterly
Weekly - your opportunity to find out what's going on in
ERIC - "Education Resources
Information Center," a database with full text education
articles and ERIC documents as well as Find It links to
non-full text resources.
Health Source: Consumer Edition (Provides access to
nearly 80 full text, consumer health magazines on topics
concerning medical sciences, food sciences and nutrition,
childcare, sports medicine and general health.)
Health Source: Nursing / Academic Edition (Scholarly
full text journals focusing on many medical disciplines.)
Humanities International Complete -
database covering the Humanities with quite a few
Communications journals included.
MEDLINE (EBSCO: Provides
authoritative medical information on medicine, nursing,
dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system,
pre-clinical sciences, etc.)
Nursing & Allied Health Source (ProQuest: Find
complete, full-text information from leading nursing, allied
health, and related publications. Designed to meet the needs
of researchers at health-care facilities as well as students
enrolled in nursing and allied health programs at academic
PsycINFO - the gold standard database
for psychology and related fields.
Social Sciences Abstracts
- articles and citations for
interdisciplinary fields such as addiction studies,
anthropology, corrections, economics, gender studies,
gerontology, minority studies, political sciences,
psychology, sociology, and more
Hints for the EBSCO Databases:
Try searching the EBSCO
databases simultaneously. There is a dropdown menu where
you can select the databases you want to search. I recommend
Communication and Mass Media Complete, Academic Search Complete,
Humanities International Complete, and PsycINFO for the best
articles on Communication. You can also use the Refine Search
tab to limit your search to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Sources!
Find It Button/ILL
Sometimes the article you want is not available in its
entirety (we call that "full text" in the biz) in the database
you're in. Well, then what? Nearly all of our
databases that don't have complete full-text will have Find-It
What does that cute little
Find-It Button do, anyway?
First off, this is what
you're looking for:
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
Links you to the library
catalog when we have the item you want in print or
Links you to
(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
this tutorial to see the magic in action!
Another bit of magic...
You can also use the Citation
Linker, another fabulously cool tool. It is useful when you
are reading an article and it cites another article that looks
like it would be super useful for your research. You plug in
the citation information for that article and can find out how
to access it, whether it be electronically, physically in the
library, or through Interlibrary Loan. It works the same way as
Find It, but you don't have to be in a database.
Watch this tutorial on how to use the Citation Linker!
This link takes you directly to the Citation Linker.
affectionately known as ILL
Interlibrary loan is for when
we don't have an article available in print or electronically,
meaning we just don't subscribe to it here at Blackwell.
The good news is that we're usually able to get the article for
you from another library, either in print or electronically.
You do have to register to use the service. Please visit
Interlibrary Loan website for more information and to get an
account. You won't be sorry! My guess is that
you are GOING TO HAVE TO USE ILL to get the resources you
need for CMAT297. My best advice is to start early so you
have time to get the resources in and use them for your project.
Interlibrary Loan tutorial.
Come on, you know you want to!
make sure that internet resources are appropriate for your
Look at the criteria listed on
this website for more information.
If you have questions about the appropriateness of a website,
please check with your professor or a librarian.
See below for
websites that I recommend for gathering government information
or statistical data. And by the way, finding statistics can
be challenging, so PLEASE ask for help if you can't find what
you're looking for!
USA.gov - the official
portal to the U.S. Goverment
American FactFinder - population, housing, economic and
American Cancer Society - general cancer information and
Bureau of Labor Statistics - data about employment, unemployment, wages, etc.
Centers for Disease Control
- gateway to statistics from over 100 U.S. Federal agencies
Commission - news releases, statistical reports and
Government Resources on the
National Center for Education
Statistics - you guessed it, education statistics!
National Center for
Health Statistics - yep, health stats from the CDC!
National Institutes of Health
Princeton University Survey
comprehensive guide to online sources of public opinion
surveys, market research, and statistical data.
- US Government statistical sources through Vanderbilt
Statistical Abstract of the
Reports - for crime data
Also here's some help on writing
CITING YOUR WORK
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.
Whatever you do,
you want to avoid plagiarism. Sometimes students don't
mean to plagiarize, but when things are cited improperly, it's
still plagiarism whether it was intentional or not.
guide helps students understand what plagiarism is and how to
Librarians are sometimes called
upon to check out cases of suspected plagiarism. Because
we are expert searchers, we can often uncover the sources of the
lifted text. So, just keep in mind that at some point I
could be searching suspicious phrases from you paper and
ascertaining whether or not they are cited correctly <evil
Here are some APA Citation Guides:
If you ever have questions about how to
cite something, let me know. Librarians answer citation
questions all the time and even though we may not have the
answers stored conveniently in our brains, we can help you look
up the answer in a manual or online citation guide.
I'm available to help you in
a variety of ways with your research for CMAT297. I love
to help students, so please don't ever feel like you are
burdening me or bothering me if you come to me for help!
It's my job!
You can visit me in
person in my office, Blackwell Library 128 (it's best to
make an appointment)
You can reach me by
You can reach me by
Other sources of help:
If I'm not around in the
library, another librarian can help you. Just stop by the
Research Services desk on the main floor and see is
available. You can also try our
can also get help 24 hours a day/7 days a week through the
Maryland AskUsNow chat reference service:
Communications Subject Guide has more general help for
Communications Students, so feel free to check it out!