Messy Art

Communication Research Guide

  • Find Background/News Info
  • Find Books and Films
  • Find Articles
  • Citing Sources

Find Background Info

Background sources such as specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, are an essential piece of the research process. They can help you:

  • Gather information about your topic and understand the scope of the research
  • Locate reliable sources and clarify keywords
  • Pinpoint important authors, texts, ideas, and keywords about the research area; knowing what the primary phrases and concepts are will help you a lot as you are searching library databases and online sources.

Background Sources

MasterFILE Complete

This database features popular full-text magazines, reference books and other highly-regarded sources from today’s leading publishers, covering virtually every subject area of general interest. It also includes an extensive image collection containing photos, maps, and flags which can be found on the right hand side of the results list.

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Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Opposing Viewpoints in Context presents an overview of social, medical, scientific, ethical, historical, and current issues. The result is a dynamic online library of current event topics—the facts, as well as the arguments, of each topic's proponents and detractors. OVRC's unique features include topic overviews—frameworks which allow students to explore each topic's many facets—and exclusive electronic access to Gale's Information Plus reference program of statistics, government data, legislation and more.

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CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher provides award-winning, in-depth coverage of the most important issues of the day. Written by experienced journalists, these reports are footnoted and professionally fact-checked. Full-length articles include an overview, historical background, chronology, pro/con feature, plus resources for additional research. Graphics, photos, and short "sidebar" features round out the reports. Shorter "Hot Topics" articles provide a solid introduction to subjects most in demand by students.

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Credo Reference

Credo Reference is multi-publisher collection of high-quality reference titles covering everything from the arts to astronomy, law to literature, and science to Shakespeare. The collection currently contains over 162 titles taken from 36 different reference publishers and more titles are being added. Available titles also include a range of multimedia options including thousands of high-quality diagrams, photographs, maps, and audio files.

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CollegeMedia is a large collection (over 19,000 resources) of video and other educational media free for Utah's educators, students and citizen learners. It allows you to search for content, preview it and then download the media for on demand use. CollegeMedia includes local programs from KUED-7, national PBS programs, and more.

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News Sources

Newspaper Source

Provides selected full text articles from US and international newspapers.

Search Newspaper Source

ProQuest Newspapers

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global features dissertations and theses from around the world. Designated as an official offsite repository for the US Library of Congress, PQDT Global offers comprehensive historic and ongoing coverage for North American works and significant and growing international coverage.

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New York Times – Historical Edition

New York Times Historical Edition provides access to the New York Times from 1851 to 1993.

Search New York Times – Historical Edition

Global Issues in Context

Global Issues in Contexts integrates international news, global viewpoints, reference materials, country information, primary source documents, videos, and statistics. This is a useful database when you are doing background research of searching for a topic.

Search Global Issues in Context

InfoTrac Newsstand

Provides access to more major US regional, national, and local newspapers, as well as leading titles from around the world. It also includes images, radio, and TV broadcasts and transcripts. Users can search articles instantly by title, headline, date, author, newspaper section, or other fields.

Search InfoTrac Newsstand

Find Books and Films

Print and e-books are valuable sources for academic research. They will help you gain an overview of your topic and often contain in-depth information about the scholarship or history of research on a subject. Some books are written by single authors, while others include essays or chapters by multiple scholars within a discipline. Don’t let the length of books intimidate you because you don’t need to read them from cover to cover. Look at the table of contents and index to find the sections that are relevant to your work.

Find Books Using GriffinSearch

You can use GriffinSearch to find print and e-books available through Giovale Library. To get started, search by keyword or type in the title of a book here:

Academic Videos Online (AVON)

AVON provides unlimited access to a comprehensive selection of videos curated for the educational experience.

Search Academic Videos Online

Videos about Communication

Videos about Media Studies

WorldCat lets you search for books, articles, videos, and other material that are available in libraries worldwide. If you are doing in-depth research on a topic and are considering requesting resources through interlibrary loan, WorldCat can help you discover resources that might not be in the Giovale Library collection.

Search WorldCat

InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

InterLibrary Loan is a service where patrons of one library can borrow books and other materials, and access journal articles that are owned by another library.

InterLibrary Loan

Utah Academic Library Consortium

Giovale Library participates in the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) and Westminster College students have reciprocal circulation privileges at UALC partner libraries. Each UALC library has different circulation policies, but all require a current, valid, legal photo identification and proof of current enrollment at Westminster. Some libraries may also require other verification methods, so it is recommended that you contact the member library you are interested in for details.

Utah Academic Library Consortium

Popular Titles and Featured Texts

  • Visual Research

    Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methods in Graphic Design

  • Social Media Rules of Engagement

    Social Media Rules of Engagement: Why Your Online Narrative is the Best Weapon During a Crisis

  • Crisis Communication

    Crisis Communications : the Definitive Guide to Managing the Message

  • The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning

    The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning

Find Articles

The Giovale Library provides access to a number of subject databases that you can use to find journal articles on topics within a specific discipline or field of study. The databases listed on this page are those that are most useful for finding research published in communications.


GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other material available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases.

Search GriffinSearch

Communication and Mass Media Complete (CMMC)

Provides indexing and full-text access to journals in communication and mass media, including such fields as broadcasting, linguistics, marketing, media history, and more.

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JSTOR is an archive of full-text articles from journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. It includes retrospective coverage of publications as well as access to many current journals.

Search JSTOR

Academic Search Ultimate

Academic Search Ultimate is an interdisciplinary database. It contains academic and popular sources. Academic Search Ultimate provides full text and indexing for academic, social sciences, humanities, general science, education, and multi-cultural journals.

Search Academic Search Ultimate

Citing Sources

Citing your sources helps you avoid plagiarism and shows that you’ve done research to become knowledgeable about your topic. Proper citations allow your readers to track down your sources and help them understand how your research is connected to the work of others in your field. On this page, you will find guides and tools to help you format citations, and you will learn about what constitutes plagiarism.

How to Cite Sources

With all of the many ways that you can plagiarize someone’s work, either accidentally or on purpose, how can you make sure that you’re citing your sources correctly each and every time? One way is to become familiar with reputable sources that will help you learn or confirm that how you are citing your source is correct.

PurdueOWL contains writing guides, grammatical rules, and citation help that will assist with many writing projects.

Zotero is the ideal tool to gather, analyze, and document all of your sources. It is compatible with GriffinSearch and other library databases, allowing you to save citations and articles while you research. Visit the Zotero website to find out more, or stop by the library for some help getting started.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism means taking someone else’s work or ideas and trying to pass them off as your own. Plagiarism can either be intentional or unintentional, and even the most careful writer could accidentally plagiarize without fully knowing it. For example, did you know that it is plagiarism even if you misattribute a quote to the wrong author? Even if you cited the source and took care to put it in your bibliography, if the wrong person received credit for someone else’s work, it can still be considered plagiarism. Other forms of plagiarism include:

  • Copying and pasting someone else’s work and turning it in as your own
  • Using a quote from someone without giving them credit
  • Not putting a quotation in quotation marks
  • Changing a few words here and there, but keeping the main ideas of a sentence without giving credit to the original author
  • Copying pictures from Google or another website to use without saying where you found the image

Of course, all of these scenarios of potential plagiarism can be avoided by knowing how to properly cite your sources.

Need help with your research?

Get in touch with:

Erin Merrill

Erin Merrill

Liaison Librarian for Communication

Librarians are happy to answer questions via email, phone, or in-person.

Contact Erin with a question or to schedule a research help appointment.

Chat with a Librarian

Use the chat box below to ask the library staff a question. If chat is unavailable or we don’t respond quickly, please use the email form on our Get Research Help page and a library staff member will contact you as soon as we are available.