COM 3078: Group Communication - Prof. Seplow

Encyclopedias & Overview Sources

Encyclopedias & Overview Sources can be a good way to start your research. Encyclopedia entries can include:

  • a historical context of your topic
  • names of key researchers in the field
  • explanations of theories and key concepts
  • chronologies/timelines
  • lists of articles and books about a topic

When you are ready to search library databases for articles or books, try using some of the key terms from the encyclopedia entry discussing your topic.


Books offer an in-depth study of a subject. Use books for:

  • Historical overview or chronology
  • Theoretical foundations of a subject
  • Authoritative work of a key author or theorist

Books offer context to frame your argument or shape your analysis.

Magazines and Journals

Scholarly or peer-reviewed journals publish articles written by academic researchers, scientists and others who are considered "experts" in their fields of work.  Often they are doing original research, based on new ideas or expanding on previous research. Prior to being published, the articles are submitted to other experts for peer review. 

Magazines are written by journalists for a general audience. They offer in-depth reporting, feature articles, interviews, news and commentary.

Newspapers cover current events. They offer in-depth reporting, interviews, and editorials & op-ed pieces. Some of the best known newspapers are The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and the New York Times.

Statistics and Data Sources

Statistics give quantitative evidence. Find data from experiments and research studies. Use official data from government agencies.

Policy Papers/Reports

Find policy analysis and evaluation from think tanks and sponsored research organizations and NGO's. Use government research, Congressional hearings and

Blogs and Social Media

Use blogs and social media for opinion, ideas, discussion of news and popular culture, announcements of events and new research and more...