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Communication Research

Fant Library's guide to resources for research in communication. Here you'll find access to books in print or online, databases for scholarly articles and hard data, and access to library help online or in person.

Periodicals, Scholarly Publications, and Peer Reviewed Articles

 

There are many different types or articles and publications. There are mass media publications, scholarly journals, and peer-reviewed literature. While many of these terms are used interchangeably they are all different.

Periodicals refer to any type of publication that is regularly published whether that is once a day, once a week, or twice a year and can be written by anyone. Anything from the New York Times, to Vogue, to the Journal of Communication are considered periodicals. These are usually written for the general public.

Scholarly publications are authored by experts and usually discuss original research, methodology, or theory. These are primarily written for other academics, researchers, or students within the field.

While all peer-reviewed articles are scholarly publications, not all scholarly publications are peer-reviewed.

Peer Review refers to a specific publication process. The articles are written by experts and then go through an assessment process where the article is read, reviewed, and evaluated by the author’s peers (other experts within the field) prior to publication. While rigorous, this process ensure that the published articles are authoritative and accountable. This process is used to maintain and improve the quality of published material.

 

 

Popular

Scholarly

Peer-reviewed

Author

Journalist

Expert

Expert

Audience

General Public

Experts

Academia/Experts

Language

Simple, non-technical

Technical

Uses specialized terminology

Editing

Editor

Editor

Peer-Review Process

Research

Interviews, anecdotes, quick facts

Statistics, research, original studies

Original Research and studies

Length

Short, 3-5 pages

More detailed, 10-20 pages

Most detailed, 15-30 pages

Images

Photographs

Charts, graphs, tables

Charts, graphs, tables

 

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Online Journals

Print Journals

(on the first floor of Fant Library)

Augmentative & Alternative Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the official journal of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC). AAC publishes scientific articles related to the field of augmentative and alternative communication.

Communication Arts

Communication Arts is the leading trade journal for visual communications, and the largest creative magazine in the world.

Communication Theory

A journal of the International Communication Association, Communication Theory is an international forum publishing high quality, original research into the theoretical development of communication from across a wide array of disciplines.

Communication, Culture, and Critique

Communication, Culture & Critique (CCC) provides an international forum for critical research in communication, media, and cultural studies.

Human Communication Research

A journal of the International Communication Association, Human Communication Research concentrates on presenting the best empirical work in the area of human communication.

Journal of Communication

Journal of Communication is the flagship journal of the International Communication Association and an essential publication for all communication specialists and policy makers.

Journal of Communication Disorders

The Journal of Communication Disorders publishes original articles on topics related to disorders of speech, language and hearing.

Interlibrary Loan

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Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Information Sources

You will be gathering information from a variety of types of sources for your research projects including books, databases, newspaper & magazine articles, and websites. As you examine each source, it is important to evaluate each source to determine the quality of the information provided within it. Common evaluation criteria include: purpose and intended audience, authority and credibility, accuracy and reliability, currency and timeliness, and objectivity or bias. Each of these criteria are explained in more detail below.

Purpose and intended audience

  • What is the purpose of the source? For example:
    • To provide information (e.g., newspaper articles)
    • To persuade or advocate (e.g., editorials or opinion pieces)
    • To entertain (e.g., a viral video)
    • To sell a product or service (e.g., advertising or marketing materials on a company website)
  • Who is the intended audience? For example:
    • Scholars and academic researchers with specialized knowledge
    • The general public (without specialized knowledge)
    • Students in high school, college or university (e.g., textbooks for students learning a new subject).

Authority and credibility

  • Who is the author?
    • Is it a person?
    • Is it an organization such as a government agency, nonprofit organization, or a corporation?
  • What are the qualifications of the author?
    • What is the author's occupation, experience, or educational background?
    • Does the author have any subject matter expertise?
    • Is the author affiliated with an organization such as a university, government agency, nonprofit organization, or a corporation?
  • Who is the publisher?
    • For books, is it a university press or a commercial publisher? These types of publishers use editors in order to ensure a quality publication.
    • For journals or magazines, can you tell if it is popular or scholarly in nature? See: Peer-reviewed, popular magazine, or journal?
    • For websites, is it an organizational website, or a personal blog?

Accuracy and reliability

  • Is the information well researched?
    • Are there references (e.g., citations, footnotes, or a bibliography) to sources that will provide evidence for the claims made?
    • If the source includes facts or statistical data, can this information be verified in another source?
    • If the data was gathered using original research (such as polling or surveys), what was the method of data collection? Has the author disclosed the validity or reliability of the data?

Currency and timeliness

  • When was the information published?
    • For books and articles - you should be able to easily verify the publication date.
    • For websites, try to determine the date the web page was created or updated
  • Is current information required? If not, then accurate, yet historical, information may still be acceptable.

Objectivity or bias

  • Does the source contain opinions or facts?
  • Is the information presented in the source objective (unbiased) or subjective (biased)?
  • Does the information promote a political, religious, or social agenda?
  • Is advertising content (usually found in business magazines or newspapers) clearly labelled?

In Summary

  • Does the source provide you with high-quality information? Is the information useful in answering your questions and meeting your information need?

Adapted from Burkhardt, J.M & MacDonald, M.C. (2010). Teaching information Literacy: 50 standards-based exercises for college students.Chicago: American Library Association.


Evaluating Internet Sources With RADAR

 

Adapted from Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470-478.