COMS 3002B

Qualitative Research in Communication

Course Instructor: 

Jennifer Boland

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Omni search help

This guide contains information to help you use Omni, the Library's primary search and discovery tool.

Choosing an essay topic

Choosing an essay topic is one of the initial stages of your research process. This how-to guide on choosing an essay topic outlines the initial steps to choosing an essay topic, including: getting started, selecting an appropriate topic, and translating your topic into a research question.

Conducting a literature review

A literature is an in-depth analysis of the written scholarly research on a specific topic. This research might include: journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations and thesis, or conference proceedings.

A literature review should:

  • Be focused on a topic directly related to the research question you are developing
  • Identify results and summarize what is known and what is not
  • Identify areas of controversy, as well as formulate questions that require additional research

The video below provides a more detailed overview of conducting a literature review.

Writing an annotated bibliography

In short, an annotated bibliography is a list of sources with a brief summarizing of each item on the list and is often completed BEFORE writing your research paper.

This video outlines in more detail doing an annotated bibliography.

Locating sources from an existing article (citation chaining)

Citation chaining can be a useful research strategy for finding more relevant/recent research on your topic. This video looks at citation chaining as a research strategy.

Search tips: Boolean searching, wildcards, and more

When conducting research using Omni and the library databases it is important to develop strong search strategies. This video discusses search tips using Boolean Operators. For a quick tips sheet on Boolean Operators you can get that here.

Types of sources (primary, secondary, and tertiary)

The following guide discusses the differences between primary, secondary, tertiary sources as well as gives examples of the types of resources that fall under each source type. The library's how-to guide on primary, secondary, and tertiary sources can be found here

How-to: APA citation guide

The library has included a number of links to helpful APA resources here.

OWL Purdue has updated their APA guide to reflect APA 7th edition but access to the APA 6th edition will be available until 2021.

Managing your citations using citation management software

Keeping track of your citations is an important part of the research process. You might want to consider using a citation management software to help you organize and manage your citations. Our how-to guide on citation management provides insight into some of the software available. Most are free (although some have a paid component). 

Content last reviewed: May 12, 2020