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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Communication 101

Library information and resources for CMN 101 classes.

Search for Articles

A screenshot of the Undergraduate Library homepage with the Easy Search box indicated with an arrow

Where to Find Articles

1. The Find Articles Guide provides a list of databases to search, organized by subject. This page contains the following resources:

  • Starting Points - Multi-subject databases that contain information on many subjects. These databases can be the best places to start your research.
  • Newspapers - A selection of major newspapers and newspaper collections.
  • Subject Databases - Listed alphabetically by subject area, these databases include subject-specific resources. These are great for finding articles with a specific focus.

2. Get Started with a Multi-Subject Database

Academic Search Ultimate is a good starting point for most topics. To search this database:

  1. Access Academic Search Ultimate. If you are off-campus, you will be asked to enter your NetID and password.
  2. Enter keywords from your Dissect Your Research Question handout in the search boxes on the page.
  3. Click Search.

3. Focus Your Research with a Subject-Specific Database

Use the Find Articles Guide to find databases to search by subject. 

  1. Use your Dissect Your Research Question handout to determine which subject areas would be most likely to have scholars publishing articles on your topic.
  2. Select one or more subject-specific databases to search. If you are off-campus, you will be asked to enter your NetID and password.
  3. Enter keywords from your Dissect Your Research Question handout in the search boxes and click Search.

Find Articles from a Citation

To find the full text of an article from the citation in a works cited or bibliography, use the Journal and Article Locator on the library website. The Journal and Article Locator can be found under the Databases and Journals dropdown menu on the library homepage. 

Step 1: Open the Journal and Article Locator


Step 2: Open the Journal and Article Locator and enter as much information as possible. Click "Look for Journal Title or Article."

Note that entering journal title information will search only for the journal itself, and entering article title information will only search for articles. This will open a page with the number of results. The more information you enter, the more the JAL will narrow down results.

Journal and Article Locator example


Step 3: Click the article matches, and this will open a page in the database where the article is located.



Step 4: Click on the title of the article to open the database record, or click the PDF Full Text link to go directly to a PDF of the article.


Create a Preliminary Bibliography

What is a Preliminary Bibliography?

A preliminary bibliography is a list of promising potential sources to use in your speech, and should be your first research goal. You will probably discover more resources than you actually use in your speech; at this stage, the bibliography simply serves as a menu of possibilities. During your library session, your goal should be to begin creating your preliminary bibliography with the sources you find in the library databases.

You do not need to read every resource before you put it in your preliminary bibliography. In fact, you shouldn't read every source start to finish before deciding whether to put it in a preliminary bibliography. For your purposes, the preliminary bibliography will be a list of resources that you want to consider using. This is what makes it "preliminary." In most cases, you will be able to simply skim a resource or read the abstract before putting the citation in your preliminary bibliography for later use. Think of your preliminary bibliography as a "to-read" list that may grow or shrink in the later stages of research.

Once you have assessed the usefulness of the resources in your preliminary bibliography by skimming articles, reading the abstracts, skimming one or two chapters, or glancing over tables, charts, and graphs, you will be ready to begin more careful reading and note-taking.

How to Read a Scholarly Article: INFOGRAPHIC

How to Read a Scholarly Article (Accessible View)

1. Read the abstract

An abstract is a summary of the article, and will give you an idea of what the article is about and how it will be written. If there are lots of complicated subject-specific words in the abstract, the article will be just as hard to read.

2. Read the conclusion

This is where the author will repeat all of their ideas and their findings. Some authors even use this section to compare their study to others. By reading this, you will notice a few things you missed, and will get another overview of the content.

3. Read the first paragraph or the introduction

This is usually where the author will lay out their plan for the article and describe the steps they will take to talk about their topic. By reading this, you will know what parts of the article will be most relevant to your topic!

4. Read the first sentence of every paragraph

These are called topic sentences, and will usually introduce the idea for the paragraph that follows. By reading this, you can make sure that the paragraph has information relevant to your topic before you read the entire thing. 

5. The rest of the article

Now that you have gathered the idea of the article through the abstract, conclusion, introduction, and topic sentences, you can read the rest of the article!

To review: Abstract → Conclusion → Introduction → Topic Sentences → Entire Article

How to Read a Scholarly Article: VIDEO