This Communication Studies subject guide is a work-in-progress created to help support you in your research. Most of the information here is related to mass media, interpersonal communication, health communication, political communication, gender and race, global and new media, rhetoric, media policy, social media, and print and broadcast history, among other topics.
General advice for research in Communication Studies
Before you begin searching for books or journal articles on your topic, you might need to narrow your topic by considering these three questions:
- What is the focus of my research topic (communication at work, in school, in a group, one-on-one)?
- What is the kind of communication I am searching for (spoken, nonverbal, written)?
- What do I want to focus on within this subject? (persuasion, conflict resolution, support, information-gathering)?
What might be some other factors to keep in mind? (race, age, gender, culture)?
Why is it important to narrow my topic?
If you can answer the above questions, then you will have the keyword, concepts, or terms which you will use to search the databases. Because there are hundreds of thousands of articles on nearly every topic, you need to be specific in your searches so that you are not bombarded with too many results.
Books and other materials in the WCC Collection
When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of Communication Studies.
Stacks (located upstairs)
|Philology & Linguistics||P1 – P1091|
|Communication, Mass media||P87 – P96|
|Oral Communication||P95 – P95.6|
|Nonverbal Communication||P99.5 – P99.6|
|Rhetoric in Persuasion, Debate||P301 – P301.5|
|English Literature – Oratory||PR901 – PR907.2|
We also have another subject guide devoted to World Languages & Linguistics.
Key bibliographic resources in the WCC Library
Language and Communication: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia
International Encyclopedia of Communications
Encyclopedia of Media and Politics
Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture
Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition
Sourcebook on Rhetoric
Interlibrary Loan is a free service to students, faculty and staff. Request a book and ILL staff will find it at another library and have it sent to the WCC library for you to check out.
WCC Library has several collections of eBooks. Please refer to our eBooks Guide for more information.
Articles in journals, magazines and newspapers
You can find the list on our Databases page of all our online databases that will allow you to search for full-text articles by keywords, by the title of the publication, by subject, or more, depending on the database. For scholarly/academic/scientific journal articles in communications, start with:
For additional sources, and for popular press/magazine/newspaper articles, try our general databases:
Print Journals in our collection
Communication Arts (can be found on the magazines racks)
Source of inspiration for graphic designers, art directors, design firms, corporate design departments, advertising agencies, interactive designers, illustrators and photographers—everyone involved in visual communication – www.commarts.com.
Free Online Journals
Here are a few online journals with access to full-text articles (also check the Directory of Open Access Journals):
Other Communications Journals
Funded by Duke University, this website presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.
Global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Adbusters Media Foundation publishes Adbusters magazine.
“The media, marketing and advertising professionals’ complete resource for industry news, events, jobs and more.”
Digital Public Library of America
A portal to online collections. It brings together collections from libraries, archives, and museums, and lets you access them all with a single search. There are innovative ways to search and scan through the united collection of millions of items, including by timeline, map, format, and topic.
Research and analysis on digital marketing and media, objective analysis of Internet market trends, data from more than 4,000 worldwide sources.
Gender Ads Project
Created by Scott A. Lukas of Lake Tahoe Community College, the website is dedicated to understanding the contexts of sexism and advertising, gender and advertising, women and advertising, men and advertising, advertising and violence.
Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Data Archive (ICPSR)
The ICPSR maintains the world’s largest archive of computerized, numeric social science data. Topics covered include demography, economics, health care, politics, social behavior and more.
iPoll (through Roper Center for Public Opinion Research)
Polling data from nearly 400,000 questions asked on national public opinion surveys, including Gallup polls. Searchable by keyword, polling organization, and date. Covers from 1935 to the present. NOT FREE.
Communication Research Measures
Measures developed by researchers who are, or at one time were, faculty members or graduate students at West Virginia University, for use by researchers and may be used for research or instructional purposes with no individualized permission. Please cite the source(s) noted at the bottom of the measure when publishing articles based on research using these instruments.
General Interpersonal Communication Websites
Communication Studies Resources
Portal to large variety of web sites on multiple communication topics from the University of Iowa’s Department of Communication Studies.
Speech and Oral Communication Websites
- Speeches and Speechmakers: University of Iowa Communication Studies Resources
- Advanced Public Speaking Institute
- American Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank
- Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University
- Avalon Project at Yale Law School (includes speeches)
- Big Dog and Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition – Presentation Skills
- Commencement addresses at Humanity.org
- Gifts of Speech: Women’s Speeches from Around the World
- Graduation Speeches: Yahoo!
- History and Politics Out Loud
- Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs, and Body Language Cues
- Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
- Public Speaking in an Outspoken Age: Oratory in 19th Century America
- Senator Joe McCarthy: Audio Excerpts, 1950-1954
- Vanderbilt Television News Archives
U.S. Presidential Debates
- American Communication Association
- American Forensics Association
- Center for Nonverbal Studies
- International Communication Association
- International Debate Education Association
- Global Speakers Federation
- International Speech Communication Association
- National Communication Association
- National Forensics Association
- National Speakers Association
- Pi Kappa Delta – Honorary society for forensics competitors at small colleges
- Rhetoric Society of America
- Society for Technical Communication
- Toastmasters International
Although blogs may not always be credible sources, they can serve as “ports of entry” for thinking about concepts and ideas in psychology. Here are a few “jumping off” sites:
Top 50 Communications Blogs
Great compilation of blogs in communications, from broadcast to public relations to advertising to public speaking.
Developed by the founder of the visual thinking company XPlane.
The Communication Blog
Developed by Joseph DeVito, who teaches at Hunter College.
Writing Up Your Research
Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.
Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted.
Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.
When editors or teachers ask you to write in “APA style” or “MLA style,” they may not mean writing style, per se. They are referring to the editorial style that many of professionals have adopted to present written material in the field of communication studies.
Editorial style consists of rules or guidelines that a publisher observes to ensure clear and consistent presentation of written material. Editorial style concerns uniform use of such elements as
- punctuation and abbreviations
- construction of tables
- selection of headings
- citation of references
- presentation of statistics
- as well as many other elements that are a part of every manuscript
We have several copies of style manuals in the WCC Library, at the Reference Desk, in the Reference section of the library and in the Stacks
IRIS 4-2 (Information & Research Instruction Suite for 2-year Colleges) is a helpful tutorial for the research process from beginning to end.
We also have a page with help on making citations:
The importance of primary sources is particularly emphasized in research in the field of communication studies. Here’s a good evaluation of why, from a Psychology Wiki (a website developed collaboratively by a community of users).