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Communication Studies - Information Access Tools

Bibliographies and guides to the literature

Bibliographies are lists of references on a topic, typically alphabetized by the first author's last name. Guides to the literature group references into categories--such as indexes, abstracts, journals, directories, and associations--and represent the literature and structure of the entire discipline.

These books are available in many library collections:

  • Bibliographic Index
  • Guide to Reference Books
  • Mass Communications Research Resources: An Annotated Guide
  • The Social Sciences: A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources
  • Sources of Information in the Social Sciences

Most books on a specialized topic will also include bibliographies. Sometimes these can be quite lengthy. For example, the 1993 book Contemporary Perspectives on Interpersonal Communication has an extensive bibliography on interpersonal communication, arranged into sections on theory and on research.

Periodical indexes/Research databases

Indexes provide a convenient way to search the literature. You can search for a particular author, topic, key word in a title or abstract, or for a particular journal. Abstracts provide paragraph-length summaries of the articles, chapters, or books. Using indexes to find journal articles requires specific skills in searching and strategy development. Most libraries offer assistance in learning these skills and each index offers help screens or instructions.

Communication Studies Research Databases