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MC 360 Mass Communication Theory and Media Effects: Find Articles

Search Tips

  • Use Advanced Search when searching a database
  • Limit your search to Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) articles to save time
  • You can also limit by date, full-text, and (in some databases) document type or publication type
  •  Use the Thesaurus in a database to see what terms are being used
  • Check the subjects assigned to the article as well to identify search terms
  • Follow up on cited references to find related research
  • Use the perma-link feature in databases to be able to pull up articles again.

Use Interlibrary Loan

Since no library can carry everything, Interlibrary Loan allows you access to materials held throughout the state, country, and world - for FREE!  You should see an Interlibrary Loan option in our Discovery or WorldCat systems when you pull up items our library does not have. Additionally, you may see ILL options in online databases like Google Scholar (if you follow these one-time set-up instructions) and PubMed. To set up an account or manually fill out a request, visit our Interlibrary Loan page.

Find Journal Articles on Media Effects

As you search for research articles related to the study of media effects, you may want to make use of these library databases.  Several key databases are listed below; others are available on the  Databases A-Z page.

Scholarly research articles vs. popular articles

What are the features of scholarly research articles?

  • Report the results of original research.
  • Often directed toward a narrow audience that has specific research interests.
  • Always have information cited in text or in footnotes.
  • Provide extensive bibliographies and overviews of existing research.

How do scholarly journals determine whether an article is worth publishing?  Scholarly articles always go through a process of blind submission and peer review.  This means that all articles are judged solely on the quality of content and are published only if other experts in a given field decide that the article contributes something worthwhile.  If you are reading a research article in a peer-reviewed journal, you can be assured that it's already been looked at by multiple experts, most of whom are established scholars.

How can you tell if a journal article is scholarly?  There are several ways to tell.  Some database search engines allow you to limit your searches to peer-reviewed results by checking a box.  Another way is to look at who publishes the journal; often, journals are published by a university press like Duke or Oxford, or by a scholarly society like the International Communication Association.  If so, the journal and articles in it are scholarly and peer reviewed.  Another way to decide is to look at the front matter in each journal issue (in print or on the journal website).  Often journals will have editorial policies and submission guidelines that tell you whether or not a journal is scholarly.

Is there a way to tell which journals are better than others?  There are several options.  You can search the journal title in WorldCat and see how many libraries worldwide access it.  The more libraries that access it, the more likely the journal is important.  Other journals advertise their impact factor, which is a measure of how often the journal is cited.  Sometimes your professors will give you a list of the journals they consider to be the most important for your class.

Remember, there are many kinds of articles and journals.  If you have questions about whether an article is a peer-reviewed research article, ask a librarian or your professor.