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Information Resources for Communication 5000



Welcome to the APSU Library!  Below is information that you will find useful for Communication 5000. The following information is intended to assist you in determining what your information needs are,  finding the information you need, and evaluating the information you find. Links to various library services are provided throughout this document.  You will need to follow each link to find out about that particular resource or service. Through the Ask A Librarian service, you can request assistance via email, chat, or telephone. You also have access to a librarian via telephone (221-7346 or 1-800-250-1890), via email librarian, or in person by coming to the Library.

Information Needs

The first question you need to ask yourself is "What types of information do I need for my research project/paper?"  You have access to many types and formats of information through the APSU Library.  You may have done library "research" for other classes you have taken at APSU or other schools.  You probably had to find a certain number of articles, books, and/or web resources for your paper or project. Much of your previous research was probably done in conjunction with writing a paper that was intended to inform or analyze a particular topic.  Your research for this class will be much more intensive and include quantitative methods, historical and legal research.  Dr. Kanervo will inform you as to the specific types of resources she expects you to use for your project.  So, how and where do you find the information you need?  The APSU Library is the place to start.

What does APSU Library have available?

A good way to think of the APSU Library is as an information portal.  The Library's website is a bridge to vast amounts of information both inside and outside APSU.  Use the Library's website to find out what is available ( The Library owns or provides access to a wide variety of materials.  Austin is the Library's online catalog.  It lists items that are available both physically in the Library and items that you have access to through the Library.  You can check Austin to see if the Library owns a particular book (either in print or in electronic format), a journal title (not a specific article), videos, selected government publications, websites and other materials. The Library subscribes to a number of general and specialized databases that provide you with bibliographic citations to resources, and in some cases the full-text of the resource.  Subject pages (arranged by discipline) have been developed so that many of the information resources for a particular discipline are grouped together in one place.  Now that we have determined that the place to look for information is the Library, we need to find out how we find the needed information.

Searching for information

You will find the following search protocols useful when searching for any kind of information.

  • Start with a specific topic.  Broaden or narrow it as necessary.  For example you might begin your research by searching for Interpersonal Communication.  Depending on your specific topic you may need to broaden your search to Interpersonal Interaction or narrow it to Body Language

  • Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to help construct your search strategy.  Boolean operators assist you in combining search concepts and defining your searches. The AND operator narrows your search. The OR operator broadens your search. The NOT operator excludes information from your search. Examples:   Television Advertising AND Brand Preferences would retrieve resources containing information about both television advertising and brand preferences. Consumer Attitudes OR Consumer Behavior  would retrieve information about either topic. Study NOT Qualitative would exclude qualitative studies, but include all other studies.

  • Limit by format and material type when searching databases.  Many databases allow you limit your searches by material type and format such as journal articles, refereed publications, research, literature reviews, and many others.  Check in each database you use to see how to limit by publication type and format.

  • Use the references at the end of an article or book chapter to find other resources.  The references used by someone else in their research are extremely valuable to you.  By consulting those resources, you may find information that you may not have known about and that will improve your research.  

  • Check subject terms assigned to an article to see if there are more accurate or specific terms for your topic.  Whenever you search a catalog or database, always look at the subject terms that have been assigned to the resource.  You may find a better or more accurate subject term for your topic and improve your research.

  • If you are having trouble finding information about your topic, think of other terms to describe your topic.  Example: another way to describe death penalty is capital punishment

  • If the database or index you are searching uses a controlled vocabulary or thesaurus, use it!  Your search will be much more accurate than if you use keywords.  By using the thesaurus in a database, you are using the language used by the indexers and abstractors.  Note: For new concepts or buzz words, you may have to use keyword searching because the new terms may not have made it into the controlled vocabulary of the discipline.  Also, if you are having no luck using the thesaurus in particular database, you may want to perform a keyword search and check the subject headings or descriptors used for a relevant article.


You are going to find much of the information you need for Dr. Kanervo's class in journals.  These journals are going to be indexed in various subject databases.  Databases index a variety of information including articles, book chapters, book reviews, letters, retractions, editorials, and others.  Some databases you will use contain only bibliographic citations, some include an abstract, and others include the full text of a resource.  I will describe some of the subject databases you will use in your research for this class in the next section.

Databases are produced by many different vendors and each vendor has their own search software.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a uniform search platform?  The search protocols that I mention in the previous section will help you to search each database effectively regardless of the vendor.

Many database vendors provide abstracts for many of the publications they index.  Be sure to read them carefully.  They can save you a lot time.  An article may seem to be perfect from the title, but may discuss something irrelevant to your topic.  The abstract helps you determine if the publication is meaningful to your research topic. The abstract is NO substitution for consulting the complete article or study.

Consult the specific databases listed below to determine which one or ones you need to use for your research topic.  You may need to consult the list of all databases to decide if there are other databases that will assist in your research.

As an APSU student you have access to databases available through the APSU Library both on campus and off-campus via remote access.  Consult the Remote Access to APSU Databases guide for assistance.

Specific Databases

ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) is the premier national bibliographic database of education literature.  The areas of education covered by ERIC include communication, assessment & evaluation, educational management, elementary education, higher education, and many others.  Materials indexed in ERIC are books, journal articles, proceedings, theses, dissertations, book/product reviews, classroom guides, computer programs, and others. The ERIC link above takes you to a brief user guide and a search link to the database.  Additionally, there is online help available once you are in ERIC. Use the Database Guide or Help link in the top right portion of the screen.

Search tips:

  • ERIC has an online thesaurus available.  The link to the Thesaurus is located just above the search box on the initial search screen (as one of the tabs).  Consult it to construct your search.  The ERIC thesaurus provides a scope note for terms that may include a definition, the date term was introduced, broader, narrower and related terms.

  • If you are searching for a particular author important to your topic, click on the Index tab.  Select the Personal Author Index from the pull-down menu and type in the author's last name and first initial if it is a common last name.

  • The Limits feature is located to the right of the search box in the top portion of the screen.  Click on the <Change> button to set limits initially or to change them.  You may limit by document type, language, date and others.  Note:  Using the document type limit, you may restrict your search to research only.

  • The ERIC database is composed of two files: journal articles and documents.  You will be able to tell which type of record you have retrieved by looking at the number Accession Number (1st field in the record).  All document records will begin with ED and all journal article records will begin with EJ. 

Lexis-Nexis Academic is a database that provides full-text documents from over 5,600 news, business, legal, medical, and reference publications with a variety of flexible search options.  Lexis-Nexis Academic's sources have been selected to meet academic research needs and include:

  • National and regional newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, international news, and non-English language sources

  • U.S. Federal and state case law, codes, regulations, legal news, law reviews, and international legal information

  • Shepard’s® Citations for all U.S. Supreme Court cases back to 1789

  • Business news journals, company financial information, SEC filings and reports, and industry and market news

Searching Lexis-Nexis is done via five different search forms [News, Business, Legal Research, Medical, and Reference]. Additionally, there is a “Quick Info” default search form on the homepage.

Search tips:

  • Searching in Lexis-Nexis Academic is by keyword.

  • Select one of the five search forms above to perform research in a specific area (news, medical, legal, etc.)

  • Use the Quick News Search to search all the English language full-text news sources including up to the most recent two years in Lexis-Nexis Academic.

  • Use the Guided News Search form to run precise news searches. This search  form provides drop-down menus that allow you to customize your news sources.

  • Use quotations to search a phrase ( example: "truth in advertising").

JSTOR provides full-text access to back issues of selected academic journals in the following areas:  African American Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Ecology, Economics, Education, Finance, History, Languages & Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Population Studies, Sociology, and Statistics.  JSTOR does not include current journal issues.

To determine if a particular journal title is included in JSTOR, and the dates available, use Austin (Library Catalog).

Search tips:

  • Searching in JSTOR is by keyword.  Search terms are searched in the title, abstract, full-text or author indexes.  You may select which index you want to search.  Note:  When you select full-text, your search terms are compared with every word in the body of the articles as well as the citation information (author, title).

  • If you know the name of the journal and have your citation information, the best way to search in JSTOR is by Browsing the journal titles.

  • You may limit your search in JSTOR by journal (subject group or individual title), type of article and date range.

Project MUSE includes current issues of nearly 200 quality journal titles from some 30 scholarly publishers, covering the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others. Links to back issues from JSTOR are available for some titles.  These direct links only work from on-campus (access JSTOR from the Jump to Database box if off-campus).

Search tips:

  • You may search Project MUSE by article full-text, article title, article author, Library of Congress subject headings, journal title, by all fields including article text, or all fields excluding article text.

  • The best way to search Project MUSE, if you know the name of the journal and have your citation information,  is to select Journals (on the homepage).  This allows you to select a specific journal title and go directly to the issue you need.

  • In the Advanced Search mode, you may  limit your search by document type, by date, or by journal title or subject area.

General Business File lists citations and summaries of most articles and the entire text of some articles in business, management, and economic periodicals.  It also provides access to broker research reports.

Search tips:

  • You may search General Business File by subject term or keyword.

  • You may limit your search to articles with full-text, refereed & scholarly publications, by date, by journal title, and by keyword.

  • Library holdings link means that Woodward Library owns some volumes of that publication (not necessarily the volume that includes the article). To see which volumes Woodward Library owns, click  Library holdings. Most of the items listed in the databases that are owned by Woodward Library are located on Level 1.

  • Use the Advanced Search to search terms in specific fields such as article title, author, subject, journal title, text word and others. 

Does the APSU Library have the periodical I need? 

The easiest way to determine if the APSU Library has the journal you need is to search Austin ((Library Catalog)) by title.  If you have identified an article in a periodical database or index, and the complete article is not available from that database, check to see if the needed periodical is available by searching Austin.  All Periodicals (both electronic and print or microfilm) are now listed in Austin.

Evaluation of Information

Material that you find in Austin has been selected for the APSU Library by librarians and subject faculty using formal selection criteria and professional reviews.  Resources indexed in subject databases have met certain criteria set forth by the database publishers such as subjects covered, publication type, and others. You will have to evaluate this information further to determine if it is appropriate for your research purposes. There are various criteria to assist you in evaluating materials for your research project. Here are some links that will help you to evaluate journal articles and books.

How to Evaluate Journal Articles

How to Evaluate Books


I'm sure that most of you are aware that there is some very good information, some very bad information and much in between available on the Internet.  How do you tell which is which?  As with all information that you examine for your research, you must evaluate its usefulness and relevance to your particular project. You must ask yourself questions such as who is responsible for this website?  Are they an expert in the field? Is this information relevant to my research?  Is sponsor of this website a commercial entity or an educational institution or an organization or what?  Is the information current?  Can the information be verified in other sources?  Here are a several links that will help you to evaluate websites.  

How to Evaluate a Web Page

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

Evaluating Web Sites

Interlibrary Loan

You may need some resources for your project that the Library does not own.  If that is the case, you need to use the Library's interlibrary loan service (ILL).  We can borrow materials that you need from other libraries worldwide.  Just fill out the online ILL form and submit it electronically. Some of you may request dissertations or theses that you find in the databases mentioned above.  Many times these documents are only available from the institution which granted the degree and can be hard to borrow through ILL.  That said, please don't hesitate to submit the request.  We may be able to borrow it.  The most important thing to remember about ILL is to plan ahead!  While we have the technology to receive articles via the internet, we still use regular (snail) mail for books and other resources.  Not all libraries that we borrow from have the technology to send articles via the internet and still use regular mail.  Plan ahead.

Citing Sources

Once you select the sources to use in your research project/paper, you will need to put them in some type of order and format.  Dr. Kanervo has told you that you will use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition as the basis for preparing your bibliography/paper. She will advise you of the specific format she wants you to use for citing sources in this class. The Library has copies of the APA manual at the Information Desk.  The Library's web page on style guides will help you put your resources in APA format.


I have given you a lot of information.  I don't expect you to remember all of it.  There is help available to you in a variety of ways.  The Ask A Librarian service provides help via email, chat or via telephone. You may also contact me personally (see contact information below).  I am generally available Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. via telephone, voicemail, email or in person.  It is probably best to give me a call to see if I am in my office before stopping by.  Please don't spend hours looking for something and get frustrated.  Ask for help.  That's why the Library is here.  


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Last Updated: 24-Jun-2013 | Questions or comments to