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Communication Studies, Ché Meneses: Finding Articles

Library Resources for Communication Studies

Why Articles?

In addition to books, a major source of information is periodicals, that is, magazines, newspapers, and journals. They're called periodicals because they are issued on a regular or "periodic" basis. Whereas books are good for providing comprehensive coverage of a topic, they tend to be broader in scope than some of the research topics you will be assigned in college. Most of the research you conduct will likely be from information found in periodical articles. Periodicals are ideal in the following situations:

  • To locate current information or the latest scholarly research;
  • To locate information on a narrowly focused topic;
  • To locate information on a subject from a particular time period, such as how the Vietnam War was reported at the time it was happening;
  • To find arguments on controversial topics (for and against).

Types of Periodicals

Periodicals are usually divided into three groups: popular, scholarly, and trade. If you are able to recognize the differences between these types of periodicals, you can focus your research to retrieve only the type of articles you need.

Time FB cover

Popular periodicals (like TIme Magazine pictured above) are magazines and newspapers. Newspaper articles are written by journalists and mainly provide information on current events.  They also contain opinion pieces (editorials and reviews).  Newspapers articles and editorials are not necessarily written by experts in the subject, however.  Most of the time, the same can be said for magazine articles, but magazine articles will usually be a bit more in-depth.  Because magazine articles are written for a general audience, the language and discussion of a particular topic are easy to understand.

Journal of Advertising cover

Scholarly periodicals (like Journal of Advertising pictured above) are written by academic experts with material evaluated by other academic experts in their same fields in a process called peer-review.   With the exception of book reviews, brief feature articles, and editorials, the articles in scholarly journals thoroughly investigate an issue, and may contain an original experiment, population study, or simply be a rigorous review of the literature on the topic.  Journal articles usually provide a bibliography at the end to add validity and credibility to the research.  Journal articles are written for other experts in the field and therefore tend to use specialized terminology that assumes some level of expertise in the topic. 

AdWeek cover

Trade journals or trade magazines (like AdWeek pictured above) contain articles written by professionals to provide practical information and to promote education and skills within a particular trade or industry. However, articles usually do not go through the peer-reviewed process and are not original research.

Scholarly vs Popular Articles

View the following video to find out how to distinguish between popular and scholarly articles:

What are Trade Publications?

Finding Trade Publications

Trade associations & organizations can provide a wealth of information and statistics about an industry. Sometimes, this information is restricted to members-only, but It's worth taking a look at their site to see what may be available for free.

Type in a simple Google search using your business type or industry.  For example: "trade associations fashion" yields several current and relevant results on the fashion industry.

Find Periodicals by Title or Browse by Category

If you want to find a specific journal, or have a citation already and want to find out if the article is available at Foothill, use the Find Journals in OneSearch to search by journal title or ISSN (International Standard Serial Number). This will show you whether we have the journal available either in the library or electronically. You can also Browse Journals by Category.

Identify Library Databases by Subject

Magazine covers

You can find thousands of articles in magazines and journals in the library's databases. What is a database? A collection of the online versions of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles that can be searched and accessed online. 

Click on one of the General databases like Academic Search Premier or use the pull-down menu to select databases in your subject area. If you are off campus, you will see a login page at this point prompting you to enter your student ID. Once you are in the database, you can search for articles and then download or email them to yourself.

View the tutorial below on how to find article databases by subject: