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COMM 111: Queeney: COMM111

Use this guide as you work on your final research paper. A great paper effectively uses great resources!

FIRST: Select a Topic

Getting the research paper process started begins with selecting a topic. Have fun with this part! Think about the topics that interest you and start to brainstorm. As you think, try some of these strategies for identfiying a research topic. These tips can really help you when you feel frustrated or stuck without a topic idea.

  1. Write down the key words of your topic: not a whole sentence, just the most important words.
  2. For each of your key words, think of other words that have similar meanings, and write them down.  Look at the assigned readings for ideas.  Two articles on your topic could use completely different terminology: be prepared!
  3. Then, try your key words in the library catalog search box and database search boxes. (hint: look for tutorials on this webpage). See how many quality articles you find. If your first search doesn't get you the results you want, try the search again with other words from your list.

SECOND: Search in Bucks Library Databases

This is a list of databases I recommend you search. For your mid-term project, focus on newspaper collections. For your final, all resources are relevant. 

Finding Scholarly, Peer Reviewed Articles in Communication and Mass Media Complete

My NUMBER 1 recommended database for your COMM 111 research paper is Communication and Mass Media Complete. It is used by professionals and other academics. Ohio State created this simple, short video on searching in this collection and verifying the scholarly nature of the articles. 

Quality Websites for Basic Info on Movies and TV Shoes

Evaluating Web Sites

Evaluating Web sites?
There is a lot of good information to be found online. That said, there is much to consider when using a web source.
Consider the following:

  • What is the the domain (e.g.: .org, .com, .edu, etc.)?
  • Is an author listed? Is there any indication of the author's credentials or institutional affiliation?
  • Is there any indication of the date of the information?
  • Can you corroborate information with a published source?

Still not sure? Then give the web site the CRAAP test:

Currency – Has the site been updated recently?  Do the links still work? Do the graphics still load? When was the article copyrighted?

Relevance – Is this article about the topic you’re researching? Who is the intended audience (college students, K-12, professors)?

Authority – What are the author’s credentials? What is the publisher’s angle? Is contact information provided?

Accuracy – Are sources cited for the claims made? Has the information been reviewed? Can you verify the facts? Are there spelling or other errors?

Purpose – Is the article intended to persuade? Does the author make the intent clear? Does it seem impartial or biased?



Bucks Tutoring Center Tips: APA Formatting and Research Paper Writing

Stuck?! Questions? Ask your COMM111 Librarian

Jackie Burger:

Hi Everyone,

I am the Librarian included in your COMM111 online course space. What does this mean? I can guide you in your research for the final research paper. I am very aware of the requirements of the assignment and the resources best suitable for you to use to complete the assignment. You may contact me by messaging me, Jackie (aka Jacqueline) Burger in the Canvas Inbox. I also teach a few online courses, so I check often. You can expect an answer from me within 24 hours. If you prefer to meet in person, you can meet with me at the Newtown Campus Library.