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COMM 4395: Communication Capstone Seminar

This guide will connect you resources, strategies, and tools that will help you complete your Communication Capstone project.

Communication Databases

Below you'll find the most frequently used research databases in Communication, but the resources you need depend on your topic. The library's databases are organized by subject, but ask me if you're not sure where to search.

Search by Subject

Try using subject headings to create controlled and narrow search queries.

Subject headings constitute a controlled vocabulary that can help you find sources by their primary subjects. Because this vocabulary is maintained by the Library of Congress (LC), it becomes a standard which can be used across different catalogs and databases. 

Take the example below. First I used LC's subject heading search to discover that the subject heading for anime is not 'anime' but rather 'Animated films -- Japan.' Searching this phrase in the subject field returns a list of all results tagged with that heading. Now I can cross-reference all works about animated films from Japan with a more narrow keyword, in this case the director Satoshi Kon. 

Caveat searcher! Anytime you construct a query like this you're intentionally removing results that may be relevant. In general it's best to begin with broad, keyword-based searches, then move to subject-led searches when you have a clear and well-defined idea of the resources you need. For example, the search pictured above returns two results; swapping out 'Animated films--Japan' for 'anime' returns 21 results. Research is a process of moving between broad and narrow levels of inquiry