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COMM 1000 - Fundamentals of Communication and Media Studies (Prof. Patrick): COMM 1000 Course Page

This guide was created for students enrolled in Prof Patrick's COMM 1000 - Fundamentals of Communication and Media Studies course.

Welcome to the COMM1000 Course Page (Prof Patrick)

This guide was created for students enrolled in Prof. Patrick's COMM1000 - Fundamentals of Communication and Media Studies course.

Critical Research Paper Assignment

Library Instruction Goals / Course Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Construct an argument in response to claims made in academic literature and/or non-academic sources
  • Use key concepts from the communication and media studies discipline
  • Develop scholarly research skills
  • Produce a well-researched, argumentative paper

Assignment: Research a topic of your choice. Cite one assigned reading and two external sources (academic or non-academic)

Select a Response Option 

  1. analyze and debate a theory
  2. apply a theoretical framework to analyze a text


Selecting a Database to Search

  1. Not all database are equal. Read the description of the database carefully.  If you select a database and do not find content that you can use for your paper you may need to: try another database, revise your search terms; email your librarian ( and ask for help.  
  2. Use the Keyword Worksheet in the library handout to help you think critically about the words you have selected to search. Look for alternate keywords in the text of your assigned readings. Look for subject headings in the article records in the database.
  3. Do not use your browser url address bar to save a document. Look for a permalink or persistent url within the database, or use the save, email, or export options.
  4. Be aware of bias in sources and language; make sure that you address bias in your paper.

Recommended Database - Communcation & Mass Media Complete

Your class reading

Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking. Oxford University Press, 2001.

Sample search : ADVANCED SEARCH

keyword box 1 = vlog* or "video blog*" or "social media"

AND keyword box 2 = advertis*

Search Modes and Expanders = Boolean/Phrase, Apply related words, Apply equivalent subjects

Limit by Date : 01/01/2015 - 5/1/2021

Sort by Relevance or Date

Limit again by Thesaurus Term = Advertising

Recommended Database - Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text

Your class reading:

Dow, Bonnie J. “Hegemony, Feminist Criticism and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol.7, no.3, 1990, pp.261-274.

Sample search : ADVANCED SEARCH

keyword box 1 = hegemon*

AND keyword box 2 = feminis*

AND keyword box 3 = (tv or television)

Search Modes and Expanders = Boolean/Phrase, Apply related words, Apply equivalent subjects

Sample Search - OneSearch

Your class reading:

Horton, Donald, and R. Richard Wohl. “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance”. Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts 1919-1968, edited by John Durham Peters and Peter Simonson, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004, pp.373-386.

Sample search : ADVANCED SEARCH

keyword box 1 = Whassup

AND keyword box 2 = Bud*

Search Modes and Expanders = Boolean/Phrase, Apply related words, Apply equivalent subjects

Search Tips and Training

Search Tips

  • Use the Advanced Search
  • Check to see if the database has a Thesaurus or Index, and consider using it
  • Enter each separate keyword concept in a different box
  • Select the Boolean/Phrase radio button
  • Use an asterisk * at the end of a word to get variant endings : child* yields child and children
  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase, two adjacent words in the same order : "cookie monster"
  • Consider using the medium or industry as a subject, or look for a database designed specifically for research in that medium or industry (film, television, news)
  • Consider limiting by date, and using theories, concepts, technologies, geographies, demographics, and regulations as keywords
  • Consider Source Type: Advertisements, Trade Publications, Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals, Books

Evaluating Sources

What about Google?

There may be good resources available via the free web, but it is your responsibility to look critically at the sources you choose. If you cannot write a citation for a source, then you may not want to choose it for your paper.  You should be prepared to defend the authority, accuracy, timeliness, and appropriate context of the sources you choose.

Other Recommended Databases

For Business Topics

For Historic Topics

For assignment option #1: Analyze and Debate a Theory

For citation analysis (see who has cited a source)

The ProQuest federated search option (not as comprehensive as EBSCO OneSearch). 

Another database recommended for this assignment

Training Videos For Selected Databases

Citation Style Websites

Communication & Media Studies Research Guide

Need Help? Email Me!

Jane Suda, Head of Reference & Information Services

Reference & Instruction Department

Reference & Instruction Department
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