Mass Communication: Getting Started
Where to Begin ...........
Getting started is often the most challenging step in the research process. You may be asking yourself the following questions:
- What topic should I choose?
- What search terms will work best?
- Will there be enough information on my topic?
- Where do I go to get background information on my topic?
- Where do I get recent information?
- How do I know if my articles are scholarly?
- Can I use the Internet? How do I know if I'm getting "good" information that I can use in my research?
- How do I cite my sources?
Browsing the library's reference books, online catalog, and databases will help you select a topic and find search terms to use in conducting your research. You will also get a feeling for how much information is available on your topic and whether you need to broaden or narrow your focus.
Once you've settled on a topic, click on the tabs above for finding books/multimedia, finding articles/databases, and finding other resources (such as good, "safe" websites!). You can search for information right from this guide.
The Research Process
Doing research is a process. It is not always "linear," following a straight line from selecting your topic to getting all of your information to writing your paper and citing your sources. Take a look at the flowchart below:
|Steps to Begin a Research Paper|
|Select a topic||Browse reference books, e-books, and journal and database articles|
|Determine if there is enough information on your topic||
|Get background information||
|Get recent information||
|Write your paper||
|Ask a Librarian||
|Revisit your steps||
You may need to revisit certain steps in your research process based on:
|Get started||Click on the arrow to the right of the "Getting Started" tab above and click on "Reference Resources" to start searching for information in our reference collection|