Skip to Main Content

COM207: Introduction to Communication Inquiry (Deiss)

This guide was designed to support students enrolled in COM207, however, others researching communication might also find the content useful.

Popular vs. scholarly articles

Should we fear an AI super-troll?

Functional linguistic variation in Twitter trolling

Questions for consideration:

1. What are the author credentials?  Who is the publisher?

2. Who is the intended audience for the article?  

3. Why was the article written?  To entertain, inform, share the results of a research study, other?  

4. What is the language like?  Is it formal?  Is it high level and includes jargon?  Is it written at a level that is easy to understand?

5. Is the cover glossy and visually appealing?  Are there any pictures included in the article?  Are there graphs and/or tables?  

6. Does the publication contain any ads? 

Recommended databases

What are scholarly journal articles?

Generally, scholarly or academic, journal articles share original ideas and research.  They are written by experts and add to the understanding of a particular field of study.  

Examples of scholarly journals from the communication field, accessible through the library database Communication and Mass Media Complete, include Human Communication ResearchJournal of Applied Communication Research and Mass Communication & Society, among 100s of others.  

What is peer review?

Most scholarly journals are peer reviewed.  The peer review process subjects the article to a critical examination by experts in the field being discussed.  This increases reliability and prevents misinformation from spreading.  

The following short video, from North Carolina State University Libraries, explains peer review.  


Sentences or sentence fragments should not be used when database searching.  Instead, researchers can use keyword or phrase searching.  


Think of words that best describe the topic you are searching.  Quotation marks are used to identify phrase searching (for example, "computer mediated communication").


Concepts can be identified using various words so it is helpful to identify synonyms or related terms as well. Use narrower and broader terms to decrease and increase results, respectively.   



Keyword(s)/phrase “computer mediated communication” 
Synonyms: computer supported communication, online interactions
Related terms:   social networking, "computer supported collaboration, discourse analysis
Narrower terms:   "text messaging," email, emoticons 
Broader terms:   interpersonal communication, digital media 

Subject terms





Journal Finder



Wikipedia can be used as a starting point, however, one cannot be certain of its reliability. 

  • Define your topic
  • Pick out words or phrases for further searching
  • Identify questions, problems and/or areas of the topic to research

More effective database searching

  1. List 5 keywords for the communication topic conflict resolution.  Include synonyms, related, broader and narrower terms. 
  2. Search Wikipedia for conflict resolution and add 2 additional search terms to the list.  
  3. Identify 1 interesting article in the reference or further reading lists of the Wikipedia entry conflict resolution.  Search for the publication and article using GCC's Journal Finder.  
  4. Search the thesaurus of the database Communication and Mass Media Complete for conflict resolution.  What phrase does the database instruct researchers to use instead?   Search the database for that subject term.  Email one article from the list of results to yourself.  
Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike License Tag

All guides are available under the CC-BY-NC-SA license.