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Communication: Research Strategies

General instruction for finding information in the field of Communication

7 Steps to Successful Research

Step 1:  Peruse the Library's Web Site:

Familiarize yourself with the library's online catalog (see "Introduction to Discovery: " links above), databasesjournalsInterlibrary Loan and other library services.

Step 2:  Get Background Information:

Use encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, textbooks, or other general works to provide background information, a readymade outline, expert authors and contextual parameters on a topic. See Reference Resources Research Guide for a description of the various types of reference tools and their use.

Step 3:  Use the Library Catalog:

To find books, eBooks, eAudiobooks, articles, theses/dissertations, CD's, DVD's, etc. type your key search terms in the search box on the library’s Web site <>,  

Step 4:  Find Scholarly Articles:

Whether using periodical indexes like Academic Search Ultimate, ATLA Religion and ProQuest Research Library or using the library catalog, to find scholarly articles simply limit your search to "Peer Reviewed". In most instances, the "Peer Reviewed" option retrieves articles from academic scholarly journals as well as peer reviewed journals. See "Identify Scholarly Articles" in the Research Guide "Identifying Scholarly Sources" for more details.

Step 5:  Systematic Serendipity:

Using sources to find more sources is the key to doing efficient and effective research.  The bibliographies, subject headings, authors, tables of contents, call numbers and summaries or abstracts from each resource found can be used to find more sources. For example use the bibliographies found in encyclopedia articles as a source for both book titles and expert authors. Use the Subjects found with each record in the library catalog to search for other items with the same subject. Use the call numbers associated with each item to browse the shelves for similar items on the same topic. Alternatively, use the "Browse the Shelf" option in the catalog. Also, identify possible search terms from the tables of contents, summaries and abstracts to further expand or focus your search.

Step 6:  Evaluate all Resources

Examine each potential resource for relevancy to your information need.  Consider the purpose of the material; the authority and expertise of the source (author/creator, publisher/provider); the accuracy, comprehensiveness and currency of the content. See Evaluate Sources above for more information.

Step 7:  Librarians are your friends.  

Introduce yourself to the Reference Librarian.  S/He can help you find what you need much more efficiently and effectively.  There is no extra mercy granted to those who work harder instead of smarter.

Contact Miss T., Reference Librarian & Institutional Copyright Specialist:; 661.362.2201


Last updated September 2022.

Databases, Open Access Resources, Theses & Dissertations

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Work smarter not harder. Ask Miss T

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Janet "Miss T." Tillman
Robert L. Powell Library
The Master's University
21726 Placerita Canyon. Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91321