Articles can offer you popular overviews of technical subjects or in-depth research. They may be quite current or they may offer a historical perspective. It all depends where you look.
Indexes & abstracts are the most efficient way to find articles by subject. There is no one comprehensive database for communication studies. Think of them as brands, like Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper... Take me to the list of Periodical Indexes & Abstracts for Communication Studies
Consult these additional indexes only after you've explored the major ones listed above. They are more difficult to use or only cover older dates, but they can be useful for particular needs and hard-to-find topics.
Index to Journals in Communication Studies Through 1995 (in print)
Shelved: Ref. P 87 .M37 1997
Dates: 1915 to 1995
Indexes: 24 communication journals from 1st issue to 1995
Has your professor ever said:
Scholarly Journals ...
Peer-Reviewed or Refereed Journals…
Are a subset of scholarly journals in which articles are only accepted for publication if they meet the standards of a group of experts (called an “editorial board”) in the field. These experts are the “referees” or “peers” which review an article to see if the authors have followed good research methods and are contributing new and important knowledge to the field. Often, peer-reviewed or refereed journals can only accept a small percentage of the articles submitted
How can I find out if a particular journal is refereed (a.k.a. "peer-reviewed")?
If you have the journal in-hand, check the inside cover, back cover, or first few pages. Often, the journal will describe itself and will state whether it is peer-reviewed. You can also look for an "Instructions for Authors" pages: if the instructions say to include multiple copies, you can assume it's peer-reviewed. (Peer-reviewed journals tell the author to submit multiple copies of the same article, so that these copies can be sent to reviewers). If you do not have the journal in-hand, use online indexes that will allow you to limit to peer-reviewed journals. Or, use Ulrichsweb.com to look up your journal title and look for the "Refereed" symbol:
Remember, even the most scholarly of journals can include articles that do not meet the requirements for a "scholarly article." Be sure that the article is substantial in length, has a bibliography, footnotes, or list of works cited, and that the authors are clearly identified. Finally, when in doubt, ask your professor if it is an acceptable journal for your assignment.
If you want to stay current in your field or browse for topics, nothing beats a good communication journal. The following titles are selected from among our current subscriptions and is drawn from the list of periodicals indexed by ComAbstracts and Communication Abstracts. The online version of this guide links to Periodical Locator, which lists dates of availability and where we keep the titles.
Many of these titles are online, which usually means that you will be able to search for articles within them. Remember, though, that you can search hundreds of journals at one time by using the periodical indexes and abstracts listed above.