Communication: COMM 3050

Theoretical Perspectives on Communication

Example of 'Authority'.  The first-time Otter Pop consumer looks to someone who has experience what to do.

I'd love to help you so don't hesitate to send me an e-mail for more:


   Communication & Mass Media Complete (CMMC)
Look for the "publication" box (or in advanced search use the pull-down menu to select "publication name" -to narrow your search to a specific journal)

   COMM Abstracts : dedicated Communication scholarship, and just like the database above you can narrow to specific journal titles -but take a look at your favorite searches and you'll probably find the list of required titles shows up often.


Simplify your search by breaking it down into the barest of keywords.  For example: I need to find information on how presidential elections' media coverage has affected voter decisions over the past 20 years.

election and presidential and newspapers
election and obama and internet
internet and "smart phone" and voters
internet and newspapers and election
Note: some keywords just don't work, and some are pure gold: keep a record of both so you don't have duplicate work and wonder if you'd done it before.


Don't fear the "Find It" button!

Here's the rule: click on it and either find a link to the article in another database -or when confronted by "NO ELECTRONIC FULL-TEXT" -request the item yourself at Inter-Library Loan (ask me if you get stuck for more than 60 seconds, I can help:





How can you determine the value of any information?  Whether it is verbal, non-verbal, written, yelled, televised, etc., the following information literacy screen can be used to determine value.  Hint: an article is considered scholarly (or "high impact") if it shows strong evidence of passing all five of the following...


P is for Purpose

Why was the information given/published/produced/etc.?  To inform? To persuade? To sell? To entertain? To get you off their back? –there’s no absolute correct answer, but it is very helpful to consider.

A is for Author(ity)

Who is the author(s) and how are they an authority?  Example: Stephen Hawking has a PhD in Physics and holds the Chair of the Physics Department at Cambridge University –if he states something related to Physics, he is highly authoritative.  If he argues with you that the most important element of cheesecake is the crust –he is on equal authoritative footing with the rest of us cheesecake fans.  Note: years of specific experience also counts, but is less easy to quantify than a degree or title.  Being old or being a celebrity do not count in and of themselves.  An item with ‘anonymous’, a ‘wise man once said’, no listed author, or a record of a changed authorship, are all poor.

D is for Date

How fresh is your information, and does that matter?  If you’re looking at anthropology, a field report from a dig along the river Euphrates in 1915 may be just as valuable as today.  If you are looking for smart phone reviews, you’ll want something more recent.  If there is no date of publication –then beware.

R is for Relevance

What level of information do you need?  You won’t need a scholarly article to pick a restaurant to go to, but a foreign policy specialist would be ill-advised to base policy decisions on the ideas of the guy at the grocery store putting in his 2 cents (but he probably is a great reference for the nearest & best coffee shop!)

E is for Editor

All information has added value when a larger group agrees with you and says so by publishing you (essentially you have successfully passed the editors’ desks).  Example; if someone says that all chicken should be eaten raw (which we all know is a bad idea, you would get horribly sick, and it would be disgusting, right?):
            in a self-published blog = it is either a prank/satire, or they are crazy
            in a local news source that will publish anything = it may still be a prank, or something that slipped by the overworked editor by mistake
            in the New York Times = it might be part of a hard to understand movement; you won’t catch me eating it, but at least I can read about why someone is.
            in the Journal of the American Medical Association = either all doctors are crazy
or there’s some bizarre, but effective treatment of a disease.

Help with APA Citations

How do I cite something in APA style?


My favorite web resource (very reliable):

Or see my quick guide below

Collection of Scholarly Articles/Essays

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