Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


How to find books, journal articles, and other material for the field of Communication.


Handbooks are good places to begin research; they present the state of the discipline with regard to a specific issue. Handbooks can be divided into two types:

The first kind of handbook is research oriented and presents the theories, methods, and research interests currently in vogue. Essays in this type of handbook can be useful for finding research topics, putting your research topic into context, and providing a bibliography of pertinent articles and books. Examples of this kind of handbook include:

Handbook of Family Communication HQ 519 .H36 2004
Handbook of Interpersonal Communication BF 637 .C45 H287 2002
SAGE Handbook of Gender and Communication P 96 .S48 S34 2006

The second kind of handbook is more practice oriented and presents standards and best practices in a given field. The essays in these handbooks tend to be prescriptive, but can be very helpful in suggesting research projects and citations to relevant articles and books. Examples of this kind of handbook include:

IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication HD 30.36 .U5 I25 2006
White Paper Marketing Handbook HF 5415.123 .B585 2006

Search SouthernSearch for more.

Using Wikipedia

Evaluating internet resources

Communication Yearbook

Published by the International Communication Association, Communication Yearbook contains "state-of-the-discipline literature reviews" on current issues in communication research. T he goals are to concisely summarize current research and suggest directions for future research. Recent volumes have included essays on such diverse subjects as bullying, work-life research, forgiveness, media content, trauma, and identity.

Communication Yearbook is an excellent source for:

1. learning what's going on in communication research right now,
2. getting ideas for papers,
3. finding citations to relevant publications when you're actively engaged in researching a subject.

Communication Yearbook is located in the Reference Area on the main floor of Buley. The call number is: REF P 87 .C5974 followed by a volume number (e.g. v.31)

Evaluating all resources

You should evaluate all of your resources, not just the ones you find online. The CRAAP test, developed by librarians at California State University, Chico is easy to remember:

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

The handout explains in more detail.