Communication Research Methods

Course #: CS235B

To find peer-reviewed articles


  • Break your research question down into specific concepts and subject terms; don't enter a question directly into a database
    • E.g., don't search for the exact question "What are the ramifications of using online social networking, such as Twitter and Facebook, in a political context?"
    • Instead, look for specific terms and link them together, e.g. "social media" OR "online social network" OR Facebook OR Twitter
    • Use " " to search an exact phrase
    • Use a * at the end of a word to search for all letter combinations (wildcard)
    • The “AND” operator indicates the term must be included in our search
    • Scan the abstracts for related subject headings (e.g. Social Media, Social Networks in EBSCO)
    • Add related terms using “OR” e.g. "social media" OR "social networks" - searches for both phrases

Finding scholarly books or book chapters

Use the Omni to identify books at Laurier, the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph, and the Annex

  • Use the Advanced search:
    • select Books & ebooks as the Resource Type from the drop down menu at right side
  • Like searching for articles (above) break your search up into specific concepts, e.g. "social media" AND politic* AND revolution OR uprising
  • When using operators to connect terms remember Omni is case sensitive; type AND instead of and; other databases are not
  • Use the Subject filter on results to find additional subject terms for books to add to your search
    • Click Subject drop down at left side of page; narrow and specify results by checking subjects that are relevant, then click APPLY FILTERS button

How do I know if a book is scholarly?

  • Watch our video (3 min.) to learn how to distinguish scholarly books from popular books and other non-scholarly material.

Additional book search tips

  • If you're not finding enough results, your search may be too narrow
    • Broaden your search to a more general level, e.g. for the above example, you could look for the exact subject Social Media Political Aspects
  • Many of our books have individual chapters that may cover your topic (you don't have to read the entire book):
    • Use the Details tab to look for individual chapter information
    • Check the facets at the left of the results page for useful subject headings
  • If you've never looked for books on the shelves at Laurier, learn about our call numbers
  • Floor plans for locating books
  • Requesting books from other libraries (note videos)