Communications & Mass Media
Choosing a topic
When choosing a topic for your research paper, think about the following:
- Unless your instructor assigns a topic, try to select a topic that interests you.
- Make sure your topic is not too broad, or too narrow. You will find too much information when searching for a broad topic; and not enough information when searching for a narrow topic.
- If you already have a general topic, try searching the library's catalog or the library's databases for ideas on how to narrow that topic down.
- Visit the library's Reference Desk and request to view the following book: 10,000 ideas for term papers, projects, reports and speeches: Intriguing, original research topics for every student's need.
- For current events and issues in the news, try searching the library's database: CQ Researcher.
- For debatable or controversial issues, ask one of the librarians about the Opposing Viewpoints Series, the Taking Sides Series, Issues in Focus Series and/or the Current Controversies Series.
- Visit the Social Issues Research Guide. There you will find a list of current social issues to choose from.
Books will provide an excellent starting point for your research in the field of Communications & Mass Media. Reference books often give you background information and a general overview on your topic so that you can proceed with greater understanding to a more detailed treatment of your subject in other books and periodicals. Reference books may include specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, atlases and/or statistical reports. The librarian at the Reference Desk can help in locating an appropriate source. Listed below are the titles and call numbers of some of the Communications & Mass Media books in the library's reference collection. The reference collection is located on the main level of the library. Books with a location of Reference cannot be checked out of the library. The Circulating Collection is on the second floor of the library. Books with a location of Circulating may be checked out.
To search the Catalog for a book, click on it's callnumber below.
|Encyclopedia of Communication and Information (3 volumes)||Reference||P87.5.E53 2002|
|Encyclopedia of New Media: An Essential Reference to Communicati...||Reference||QA76.575.E5368 2003|
|Encyclopedic Dictionary of Semiotic, Media, and Communication||Reference||P87.5.D36 2000|
|Hip and Hot! A Dictionary of 10,000 American Slang Expressions||Reference||PE2846.S643 1998|
|History of the Mass Media in The United States: an Encyclopedia||Reference||P92.U5 H55 1998|
|International Encyclopedia of Communication (4 volumes)||Reference||P87.5.I5 1989|
|Language and Communication: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia||Reference||P29.F47 1998|
|New Yawk Tawk: a Dictionary of New York City Expressions||Reference||PE3101.N7 H46 1998|
|Plunkett's Entertainment & Media Industry Almanac||Reference||P88.8.P57|
The library catalog is used to locate books both at RVCC, as well as from other libraries in the Somerset County Library System. Books will provide in-depth information not found in reference sources.
- Start with a Keyword search. Once you find one or two books about your topic, check the book's record to see what Subjects are being used. Once you find the appropriate Subject Heading, repeat your search using those headings. Generally, the results from a Subject search will always be more accurate than the results from a Keyword search.
- If you know the title of the book you are looking for, do a Title search.
- If you are looking for a book with a specific author, do an Author search (last name first).
Suggested Subject Headings for Communications & Mass Media:
Click a subject heading below to use it as the search term for a Subject Search in the catalog.
- Intercultural communication
- Interpersonal communication
- Language and languages
- Mass media
- Nonverbal communication
- Oral communication
- Radio broadcasting
- Speeches, addresses, etc.
- Television broadcasting
- Visual communication
- Women in mass media
- Written communication
Consult with the reference librarian to find the term best suited to your needs.
Browse the Collection:
Most of the books can be found in the following areas:
- P87 - 96 -- Communication. Mass Media
- P94.7 -- Interpersonal Communication
- P95 - 95.6 -- Oral Communication. Speech
- P99.5 - 99.6 -- Nonverbal Communication
All of the library's circulating books are located on the upper level of the library.
For additional library catalogs, including libraries in Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, consult the Additional Library Catalogs page. If you find a book in one of these catalogs that the library does not own, request the book using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Research Databases - Finding Articles
The Evelyn S. Field Library has access to thousands of periodicals. (Periodicals can be magazines, scholarly journals, or newspapers.) Some periodicals are in the library's print (or hard copy) collection. However, the majority of periodicals are available in the Research Databases. These databases provide access to articles. This information is generally more current than material found in books.
Search for periodical articles on Communications & Mass Media using the databases listed below. They can be accessed from the Library Database Page. (If you are using these databases from an off-campus location, you will be asked to identify yourself by logging in with your Username and Password. This is the same login you use on campus. The Research Databases are available only to registered RVCC students.)
- Communication & Mass Media
CMMC offers cover-to-cover ("core") indexing and abstracts for over 390 journals, and selected ("priority") coverage of 200 more, for a combined coverage of nearly 600 titles. Furthermore, this database includes full text for 285 journals.
After finding an article on your research topic, the database will either provide a citation and summary of the article, or it will provide the full-text (the complete article). If you are only given a citation and summary of the article, you can check the Periodical Locator to determine if the periodical you are looking for is available in another database. (The Periodical Locator is an alphabetical list of all the journals the library has access to. Feel free to talk with a librarian for assistance.) If the article is not available in any of the library's research databases, request the article using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
If, for your assignment, you are required to have sources from scholarly journals, use the Identifying Scholarly Articles guide to help you determine if your source is a magazine article or a scholarly article.
- American Association for Public Opinion Research
Source: American Association for Public Opinion Research
- American Communication Association
Source: American Communication Association
- National Communication Association
Source: National Communication Association
- American Press Institute
Source: American Press Institute
- Center for Communication
Source: Center for Communication
- Center for Nonverbal Studies
Source: David Givens, researcher for Center for Nonverbal Studies affiliated with the University of Missouri -- Centerpiece of the website is the Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs and Body Language Cues.
- Debate Central
Source: University of Vermont -- All about debating: strategies and techniques, critiques, evidence, debate structure, rhetoric, and argument; how to speak in public; debate topics.
- Douglass: Archives of American Public Address
Source: Northwestern University School of Speech -- An archive of over 100 speeches listed by speaker, title, chronology and issue. Site is named for Frederick Douglass, orator and abolitionist.
- Encyclopedia of Television
Source: Museum of Broadcast Communication -- Includes more than 1,000 original essays from over 250 contributors, examining specific programs, historic moments and trends, major policy disputes, and scandals. Covers the histories of major television networks and broadcasting systems around the world.
- Freedom Forum
Source: Freedom Forum -- The Freedom Forum, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy. The Freedom Forum is the main funder of the operations of the Newseum in Washington, D.C., the First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute. The First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute are housed in the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. The First Amendment Center also has offices in Washington and the Diversity Institute has offices and programs at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
- Gallup Organization
Source: Gallup Organization -- Includes opinion pools, special reports, and trends by the leading polling organization.
- Institute for Communication Research
Source: Institute for Communications Research
- National Media Museum, Bradford, UK
Source: National Media Museum -- The National Media Museum is situated in the heart of Bradford, UNESCO City of Film. We aim to be the best museum in world for inspiring people to learn about, engage with and create media.
Source: NewsLink Associates -- Links to U.S. newspapers arranged by state and to newspapers in the Americas and on other continents. Also links to radio and television networks and stations.
- Polling Report
Source: PollingReport.com -- Provides recent poll data on social issues. Questions are posed by such companies as Gallup, Harris, CBS, NBC, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. Trends and pertinent information are included.
- Public Agenda Online
Source: Public Agenda.org -- Provides material on issues that are currently in the public eye. Each section includes an overview, notable and newsworthy, factual information, sections on framing the debate, major proposals, and analyses of major players and how to reach them.
- Speech and Transcript Center
Source: Gary Price -- Provides speeches of U.S. city, state and federal officials, transcripts of radio and television news programs, speeches of international figures, business and professional figures, and historical speeches.
- Television News Archive
Source: Vanderbilt University -- World's most extensive collection of network television news. Includes abstracts of evening news programs and special programs.
- The Journalist's Toolbox
Source: American Press Institute -- Features over 15,500 websites regarding the media and news industry-related topics.
- Call or visit the Reference Desk to speak to one of the librarians. The Reference Desk is located on the main floor of the library. The phone number is 908-526-1200 x8350.
- Email your question to one of the librarians using the Ask-A-Librarian Service.
- For further information about this guide, please contact Alyssa Valenti
Last Updated - 22 September 2008