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Research Guide for COMM 300: Communication Theory: Research Tips

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Research Tips for Communication Theory

How do I choose keywords for my searches?

  • Words to include
    For your communication theory research assignments, you will want to include, at the very least, the theory name and the field or topic you are studying.
  • Use quotation marks
    If the theory's name is longer than one word, you can optimize your search by putting quotation marks around the title. Using quotation marks will ensure that the database finds results that use that exact phrase.  
  • Use AND
    To search for both the theory and the field together, you need to link your search terms with and. This strategy will narrow your search. 
"cognitive dissonance" and "human resources"

Found too many results?

  • Add more keywords
    If you find that you are retrieving too many results, try adding more keywords to further narrow your topic.
"cognitive dissonance" and "human resources" and communication

Found too few results?

  • Try another theory
    You may not find much information about a particular theory in relation to the field you have chosen. You may want to try additional searches for other communication theories to see if more research has been conducted on those theories in relation to your topic of choice. 
  • Search for more general information
    If you are still having trouble finding enough information, try looking for more general information about the theory you have chosen and about communication in the field you have chosen. This may require searching for the two topics separately, and then incorporating the information you find into a cohesive argument in your paper. 
"cognitive dissonance theory"
"human resources" and "communication theory"


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