COMM 300 - Principles of Communication: Getting Started

The library guide supporting the Communication 300 Class: Principles of Communication

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 Concise Encyclopedia of Communication: Jointly published with the International Communication Association (ICA), this new concise edition presents key concepts and the most relevant head words of communication science.
  • Encyclopedia of Communication Theory: Provides a one-stop source for a comprehensive overview of communication theory, offering current descriptions of theories as well as the background issues and concepts that comprise these theories.
  • Communication Yearbook: Publishes state-of-the-discipline literature reviews and essays. It is both highly international and interdisciplinary in scope,
  • 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.

Need more help with coming up with a research question?  Watch the video below--

Topic Development Video

This video will help you find a topic that's not too broad, not too narrow, but just right.

Background Information Video

This three-minute video shows how to find background information

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias