Contents this page: Peer-Reviewed Journals in Communication Studies - Using Library Databases - Using Ulrich's

Peer-reviewed--also called refereed—are articles that are sent to multiple scholars to make sure the article conforms to solid academic rigor, objectivity, and scholarship.    Communication Studies is a research discipline within the Social Sciences, and research-based articles from the field of Communication Studies are the best science we have.  I prefer you use Academic Search Premier and Communication and Mass Media Complete databases to find journals in Communication Studies, but there are other excellent choices.


Use only peer-reviewed journal articles in this course's formal writing assignments.  Read your textbook to give yourself some content background, then write based strictly on peer-reviewed journal articles.  As part of your assignment, provide (a) APA parenthetical citations, (b) an APA style reference list of the peer-reviewed articles you used, and (c) the full PDF file of each article. 


When writing academic or research assignments, students in this course lack the scholarly knowledge and experience in scientific methodologies to simply express their opinions.  Therefore students need to ground their informative writing in peer-reviewed communication journal articles, which are a student’s best chance of finding quality information for this course.  By using a minimum of three peer-reviewed articles, the reader can anticipate some balance in the research presented.  You can use, cite, and reference more than three peer-reviewed articles. 


If there is a problem with access to a database or PDF file, there are many full-text databases available to you through your library, and PDF files are just one type of full-text file available to you.  I prefer PDF files because they cannot carry a virus, but the various scholarly databases can link you to many articles in other formats.  Although there should be no problem opening any type of full-text file from a scholarly database, if you are worried about a potential virus, just use a local library or college lab computer.  Although I like to be able view the full-text articles at the same time I read your essay, you have until the end of each quarter to submit the files of your articles.



Probably peer-reviewed and appropriate to use in the course.

Contains original research, not a summary of what other people say.
Contains reference list in APA style.
Contains APA citations within the article.
Substantive length of at least several pages.
Article cites primarily journal articles from the field of communication studies (although may also include scholarly journals from a closely related field such as psychology). 
ritten by someone who has conducted research in the field and may work at a university.
Demonstrates academic thoroughness, science, and impartiality based on the publication decision of several scholars.
Information through fact, observation, research (no review or opinion).
Reports of original research or experimentation.
Not illustrated, except with graphs or charts; usually have no color pictures or advertisements.



Probably NOT peer-reviewed articles appropriate for this course.

Column, editorial, summary, or review piece.
Secondary source.

No author:  If there is no author or a staff writer, the article is lacks peer-reviewed because no person can be attached to the information presented. 

Movie review:  If the author is reviewing a movie or just expressing opinion, the article is not peer-reviewed no matter what the journal.  Not every word published in a peer-reviewed journal is actually peer-reviewed.
Commentary, consumer, or magazine article type lack academic rigor.
No references at the end of the article suggests failure to use academic rigor.

A short article of a couple pages or less--even with references--suggests inadequate academic development.

Secondary sources, such as textbooks, trade magazines, popular magazines, newspapers, or websites Please AVOID using your course textbook or any textbook in a research report for this course. 

Opinion editorial:  Even if the editorial is in a peer-reviewed journal, an opinion piece lacks scientific rigor.  if the journal is peer-reviewed, your selected article is probably NOT peer-reviewed if the article is an opinion piece. To be more confident that the work is peer-reviewed, also select "reference list" to make sure the author references other scholarly works.  U. Richmond has a great list of ideas for identifying peer-reviewed sources:  http://library.richmond.edu/help/faqs/scholarpop.htm


Primary sources are original research or artifacts--such as speeches--and need to be cited according to APA style.  Use APA parenthetical citation the first time you mention the artifact or primary source.  For primary source materials, see http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/listdocumentpa.html, for example.  For primary speeches, see http://douglassarchives.org/, for example.

Annuals are generally "peer-reviewed.  Here are examples of some scholarly annuals appropriate for this course.
Communication Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: International Communication Association, 1978 to present.
International and Intercultural Communication Annual. Falls Church, VA: Speech Communication Association, 1984 to present.
Sage Annual Reviews of Communication Research
. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1972 to present.

PEER REVIEWED-JOURNALS in the field of Communication Studies.
In order to be considered "peer-reviewed" or "refereed," an article is sent to three or more scholars for analysis.  The scholars determine if the research method and results appear appropriate.  If so, then the article is published under the editor's guidance (who is also a scholar).  Peer-reviewed sources are the most reliable sources available.  Below is a list of journals in the field of Communication Studies, which you can use in this course.


Argumentation & Advocacy

Communication Education

Communication Monographs

Communication Quarterly

Communication Research

Communication Reports

Communication Studies

Communication Theory

Critical Studies of Mass Communication

European Journal of Communication

Group and Organization Management

Health Communication

Human Communication Research

Journal of Applied Communication Research 

Journal of Communication

Journal of Communication Inquiry

Journal of Family Communication

Journal of Health Communication

Journal of New Media:  Technology, Society, Culture

Journal of  Media Economics

Journalism and Mass Communication

Media Studies Journal

Philosophy and Rhetoric

Political Communication

Quarterly Journal of Speech

Rhetoric and Public Affairs

Rhetoric Society Quarterly


Science Communication

Southern Communication Journal

Telecommunication Policy

Text and Performance Quarterly

Western Journal of Communication

Women’s Studies and Communication


Just a reminder:  Cite the source of everything in your essay—general information, paraphrased information, and direct quotations--using APA style with author, date, and page for all information. You need to cite the source of every piece of information used every time you use the information, including complete information about primary sources, artifacts, and peer-reviewed communication journal articles.  Your essay needs to be information-packed, with no unsubstantiated opinion.   Also include a complete reference list.  Provide the PDF file of each source cited. 



STEP 1:  FIND DATABASES.  Use high-quality, peer-reviewed research, from an online database such as Academic Search Premier. 
UMKC:  http://www.umkc.edu/lib/online/databasesmain.htm#a  
UMUC:  http://www.umuc.edu/library/resources/?cmd=createSubjectPages&template_id=635&subjectIDs=6&submit=Write#Library_Databases
FCCJ:  https://www.linccweb.org/eresources.asp?lib_code=flcc0800

Go to "Choose Databases" and select the databases you want to use.

STEP 2:  DESIGN SEARCH.  Enter the subjects you want to search and select "full-text" and "peer reviewed." for EACH DATABASE YOU USE.


STEP 3:  SELECT PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES.  Scroll down the whole page.  You have to select "peer reviewed" for each and every database you select!



Also select "References."  Most scholarly works have a reference list.


STEP STEP 4: CONDUCT SEARCH.  See what your initial search yields.  Link to the full-text to read the article, preferably through html.  With html, you can copy and paste.  I prefer your submit PDF files because they cannot carry a virus, but with html, you can copy a quotation directly into your report.





You may have an assigned topic or question to research.  Let your research findings guide the way you approach the topic.   After your initial search, you may have too many or too few results.  You may need to refine--broaden or narrow or provide a particular slant--your topic. 

For an explanation of how the topic search works, see http://www.waldenu.edu/library_services/ug_onlinedb.html#methods

Here is a search explanation from UMKC:  http://www.umkc.edu/lib/Instruction/howdoi/ft-articles.htm

If your topic is too narrow, you can expand the search by scrolling down the search page and selecting "also search related terms."



You can find one article that is on target, then look at the subject terms.  In this case, you see the word "hostility" is the scientific word, not "flaming."  You can also examine the reference list of the one good article and use that information to help direct you to other sources.




By using different subject terms and by using "OR" function, you can expand your search.  Notice the "Find" windows below.




Remember, you will be providing a review of literature, which means you will organize your research report according to ideas, not according to research articles.  The articles need to tie together in a clearly relevant way to the topic, the course, and the other articles you use.


Here is a site that explains how to write a review of literature:  http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/literature_review.html .  Notice the section entitled "Find a Focus."
A literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized. This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. No. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together. Do they present one or different solutions? Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? How well do they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory? Do they reveal a trend in the field? A raging debate? Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review


Find substantive articles as the basis for writing your report, such as the one below of 20 pages, which has references. 



Step 5:  Read the full-text of the article. 

    Prepare to provide the peer-reviewed article information with your assignment.        

    Remember you will need to provide a reference list for me and submit the articles so the class can read them.


STEP Step 7:  Revise your search.  Use a good source to help you find more sources. 

Make sure the article is a high quality article with a solid bibliography.  You can find additional sources through the article's reference list.

If the piece is a short article with no references, an opinion piece, a commentary, or has no author, the article is not peer-reviewed even if located in a peer-reviewed journal. 

    Use research articles for the best quality information.  Sometimes primary researchers do not cite other researchers, but usually they use a survey of literature, which cites other research.  Those citations can lead you to more relevant articles for your essay.

This process of learning to conduct solid research takes some time.  If you need help, make an appointment to work with a reference librarian in your library.

If you are unsure if a source is peer-reviewed, double-check the source in Ulrich’s (http://www.ulrichsweb.com or access through your library's database).   Ulrich's search page looks like this picture below.  Select "Advanced Search."

Enter the exact name of the journal you are checking.   If you want, you can select "scholarly," then tell the database to "search" (near bottom of page).  If the journal comes up, you know the journal is scholarly.

When the journal comes up on the screen, you can check the icon to see if the journal is scholarly.  A highway symbol--or whatever that is--indicates refereed.  If you forget the meaning of the icons, look in the upper right at the legend.  You can click on the title, which will give you details about the publication, including whether or not the journal is scholarly.