This guide will help you to:
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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, "Confidences." Public domain.
Once you have a topic in mind, you will want to translate your topic into keywords. Keywords are the key components, or parts, of your research topic.
For example, if I was interested in studying how body language communicates ideas and feelings to other people, my keywords might be: body language and communication.
The 3 minute video below walks you through how to translate a topic into a list of keywords you can use when looking for ebooks, articles, and other resources on your topic.
Ebooks (and print books) can be excellent sources of information on a topic.
Encyclopedias and other reference books, like those included in the Gale Ebooks database, are excellent places to begin your research because they include short overviews of topics and issues. Background information can help you to rule in, or out, a topic, and we can use what we learn here to look for a full length book all about our topic in One Search.
Finding Background Information on our Topic in Gale Ebooks (5 minutes)
Finding Additional Books on our Topic in One Search (7 minutes)
Scholarly journal articles -- also called peer reviewed articles -- are considered the best, most credible sources you can find. These articles flesh out what we learn from books with more detailed, scientific, and current information.
Why? Who authors these and why would finding some on my interpersonal communication topic be helpful? To answer these questions, and others, check out the 3 minute video below:
Now that we know what a scholarly journal article is, let's look for some using one of Pierce's databases. The 10 minute video below walks you through using one particular database: Academic Search Complete.
Each of the three databases listed below includes scholarly journal articles on communication studies topics. As each includes unique content, searching each with your keywords will lead to different results.