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Communication: Locating Articles

A research guide to finding books, articles, and other resources in Communication

Using Databases

Databases provide access to published material in:

  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • scholarly journals
  • books
  • and other valuable information sources.

Magazines vs. Journals

Magazines are periodicals that are generally popular in nature, unlike journals, which are usually more scholarly and specialized.  Here are some differences between the two:


Magazine: Glossy; pictures often in color.
Journal: More serious look; few pictures, if any.

♦  Content

Magazine: Current events; general interest. 
Journal: More specialized; research topics.

♦  Audience

Magazine: General public.
Journal: Scholars and researchers in a particular field.

♦  Style

Magazine: Written for the average reader.
Journal: Written for others in the field; shows research.

♦  Foot / Endnotes and Bibliographies

Magazine: Few notes, if any.  No bibliographies.
Journal: Includes notes and sometimes bibliographies.

♦  Advertisements

Magazine: Many ads, often in color. 
Journal: Few or no ads.  If any, they are usually for books.

Citing Your Sources

While writing research papers, you may need to:

  List your sources in bibliographies or works cited, and

♦  Provide either footnotes or endnotes.

Here is a link to the UMW Libraries' Guide to Citing Resources.

Communication Databases

Communication and Mass Media Complete (coverage varies; mostly 1930s to date)
Provides abstracts of articles (summaries) of nearly 800 journals and includes the full text for more than 450 journals.
Since 1995, Issues and Controversies has covered the most "prominent and hotly debated issues of the day," offering in-depth analyses, pro-con articles, and bibliographies.

Other Useful Databases

Academic Search Complete (approximately 1880s to date)
Provides abstracts and full-text articles from more than 10,000 books, scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference works on a wide variety of topics.
"Offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works."

FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Plus (1972 to date)
With this index, the International Federation of Film Archives provides access to both academic journals and popular magazines.

Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984
Indexes nearly 1,200 periodicals.
Humanities Full Text (indexing: 1984 to date; select full text: 1995 to date)
Indexes some 600 journals in the humanities.
Humanities International Complete (coverage varies; approximately 1985 to date)
Provides the full text of hundreds of magazines, journals, books, and other works.
JSTOR (archived publications from the 1800s to the last 1-5 years)
A full-text collection of scholarly journals in a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. To focus your search, use the Advanced Search and the "narrow by discipline" and "language" limiters.

LexisNexis Academic (coverage varies; mostly 1980s to date)
Contains full-text articles from newspapers, magazines, legal and business sources, reference books, and other works. To find editorials, click on "Search by Subject or Topic," then "All News," then "Advanced Options," then "Editorials & Opinions," and then "Apply."  (You can also click on other types of works besides just editorials.)
Project Muse (coverage varies; mostly 1995 to date)
Provides online access to more than 400 scholarly journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
Indexes articles covering topics in the study of language.
PsycINFO (1872 to date)
Indexes and abstracts the professional and academic literature in psychology and such related disciplines as linguistics, sociology, education, speech, and more.
Social Sciences Full Text (1983 to date; full text 1995 to date)
Indexes and abstracts more than 625 journals in the fields of psychology, sociology, gender studies, and other disciplinary fields in the social sciences.
Indexes more than 2,600 journals in anthropology, sociology, demography, and other social sciences.

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