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COMM 511 Introduction to Communication Theory: Overviews

Getting Started

Deciding on a topic for your communication class can be overwhelming, since the field covers so many areas: psychology, business, sociology, media, etc.  You may want to focus on a topic like "nonverbal communication", but it's a big topic.  For example, the topics below have to do with nonverbal communication:

  • Self-presentation
  • Sending accuracy
  • Deception
  • Emotional Intelligence

And the list goes on.

To make your topic manageable, you should begin by getting an overview of your subject.  Reading overviews will not only give you the basics of a topic, it will give you ideas on what areas you'd like to write about.

Overview Resources

What kinds of resources give you an overview on a topic?  Encylcopedias, bibliographies and dictionaries are a great way to start, are available online, and are searchable:

  • Oxford Bibliographies: Think of this resource as a kind of one-stop shopping site for communication and other social science topics.  Includes overviews, histories, identifies and explains major concepts.  It also suggests books and articles for more information.
  • The International Encyclopedia of Communication: Collection of  original entries, spanning the scholarship, evidence, and methodology of communication research. Coverage of theories, media and communication phenomena, research methods, problems, concepts, and geographical areas in this interdisciplinary field.
  • Sage eReference (or Sage Knowledge): Contains full text encyclopedias and reference books in the social sciences and humanities. Search by keyword or browse by topic.
  • Oxford Reference: Contains full text subject encyclopedias, reference works, dictionaries, and handbooks in all disciplines.



Dictionaries & Encyclopedias