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MCOM 286: Research Methods in Mass Media : Home

Selected Research Tools in Milne Library Dr. Gayane Torosyan

Research Help

  •   Librarians are available to help you in several ways:
  •   Visit the Research Help Desk in Milne Library, located on your left after you enter the first floor through the main entrance or through Jazzman's Cafe.
  •   Call the Research Help Desk at Milne Library at 436-2722. If the librarian is busy, you can leave a message on voice mail.
  •   E-mail a question to a Milne librarian and get a response within 48 hours.
  •   Request a research consultation to meet individually with a librarian.  Request form is available on the library web site and at the Research Help Desk.

Sources of Information

  •   Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals
  •   Popular Magazines
  •   Newspapers
  •   Books
  •   Reference sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, statistical handbooks
  •   Video and Audio sources
  •   Government Documents
  •   Web Sites

Search Tips:

  • Truncate to search for variations of a word, including plural forms

                     Example: sport* finds sport(s), sporting 

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase

                     Example:  “Winter Olympics”

Finding Background Information

Reference books, including encyclopedias, almanacs, and handbooks, provide brief, reliable information about a topic.  They are excellent starting points for research when you need to find background information, important concepts, names, and dates.  These sources often include bibliographies or lists of books and articles for further reading.  Background sources are often to be used in addition to the required number of sources for research assignments because these sources provide breadth rather than depth. 


Gale Virtual Reference Library                 Under Databases on library website

Provides the full text of standard reference sources originally published in print, some of which are also available in print in the Reference Area on the main or first floor.

Finding Information on Issues


Finding Periodical Articles

Journals are periodicals that include articles written by experts or researchers in the field(s) covered by the publication.  Articles are often peer-reviewed or refereed by experts who recommend only those articles that meet the journal’s high standards for publication. 


Magazines are periodicals that include articles, often unsigned, intended for the general public. 


Newspapers are periodicals that cover the news of the day and can include feature articles on specific subjects and commentary on the news.


Formats of Periodicals

·         Print or paper

·         Electronic or digital

·         Microfilm



Search Strategy

Determine your topic and the appropriate subject field o


r discipline.

For example, television coverage of the World Cup is a topic in the field of communications.  This topic, like many topics, can also be studied from the perspectives of other disciplines, such as economics, sociology, or geography.


Identify databases, collections of organized information, that are appropriate for your topic in terms of subject coverage and types of resources needed.

For example, news coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi appears in LexisNexis Academic, which includes the full text of U.S. and international news publications.


Find the alphabetical title list of databases by clicking on the Databases tab on the

library web site.  Click on Browse by Discipline and then on Communication Arts to find databases indexing articles on topics in communication.  Click on specific database title to begin searching.

For example, to find scholarly articles on television coverage of the Winter Olympics, select Communication & Mass Media Complete from the list of databases covering the subject of communications.


Databases with Coverage of Communication

Databases with Coverage of Multiple Fields, Including Communication

Databases with Coverage of News

Finding Books in Milne Library

Use the Classic Catalog link at the top of the library home page.  This is an index to the physical contents of Milne Library and to selected books, documents, and media available online.  

For books in Milne, note the call number for the item and consult Library Floor Plans to determine the location of the item.  For online books, follow the link to the Electronic Book or Online Item.

Using Search Everything (EBSCO Discover Service/EDS)

Search Everything (EBSCO Discovery Services/EDS)

The EBSCO Discovery Service points researchers to appropriate databases and is not a substitute for searching these databases.  EDS does not search the database but “scratches the surface” of selected library databases to produce a single list of results, including print books, electronic books, scholarly journal articles, magazine articles, research reports, documentary films, and much more.  

NOTE:  Because results include Open Source titles, not all materials are appropriate for college research assignments. 

Click on the Advanced Search, and enter terms in the search box.  You can limit search results by unclicking boxes next to “apply related words” and “also search within the full text of the articles.”

 Refining or Narrowing the Results:

The results from a search can be very large.  Use the limiters on the left side of the page to refine and narrow your results.  The most useful limiters are listed below: 


Click on Subject and then Show More to see a list of all subjects.  You can select multiple subjects.  Subjects at the top represent the largest number of results.  Subjects at the bottom will give the fewest results.  The list can be alphabetized by clicking on NameUpdate results.


Use to limit results to print or electronic items owned by Milne Library, among other types of sources.  Click on desired format(s). Update results. 


Click on Sources and then on Show More for a selected list of databases in which results were found.  Select the most appropriate databases.  Update results. 

Use Databases tab on the library web site to link to alphabetical list of individual databases. Click on database name(s) and enter words in the search box(es).  Searching the individual databases improves search results because more refined searching can be done with appropriate subject terms. 


Use to limit results to particular dates.

Finding Copies of Periodical Articles

Locating the full text of the article in electronic form:

If there is no full text with the citation for an article in a database, click on  or Find It! If a full text of the article is available in another database, there will be a link that connects to that database, where the article can be found.  If the article is not readily available, enter the article title in the search box.

Locating the article in print or microfilm, if not available in electronic form:

Link to Milne Library Print or Microfilm Copy, and then click on Is it here? Note available issues and location. Print periodicals are located on compact shelving, and microfilm is available in metal cabinets in the Microfilm Room, both of which are in the Periodicals Room.

Requesting an article on Interlibrary Loan:

If you find an article from a periodical that is not available at Milne Library in any form, you can request the article through the link Request through Interlibrary Loan. You need to be registered to submit requests. You can also request articles through the Interlibrary Loan link on the library web site under the Student/Faculty Services tab.

Finding an Article in a Particular Periodical Title

  • Use the Journals tab on the top of the library home page.
  • Enter the title of the journal or magazine, for example, Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, in the search box and click on Exact Match.
  • Look for the journal title in the results list and follow the link to the database(s) listed.
  • Link to the correct issue of the periodical OR enter the title of the article in the search box.
  • If an electronic text is available, click on the link provided.  If the library subscribes to the periodical in print or microform, click on the specific library holdings and locate the title in the library





Mary Lynn Bensen (

James Milne Library, SUNY Oneonta

Last revised September 2014