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Communication Theories & Research Methods

Communication Theories

Suggested Tip for Finding a Theory Relevant to Your Research Topic 

  • Search article databases in Communication or other related fields as suggested below with the topic of your interest as a search term. Then read the Literature Review section of the articles to find the theories that guided the research. 
    • Communication & Mass Media Complete 
    • ERIC (Education)
    • PsycINFO (Psychology)
    • Business Source Complete or ABI/INFORM (Business)
    • CINAHL FullText (Nursing. Public Health)
    • Google Scholar
  • Search Encyclopedias of Theories in Communication or in other related fields, and search the full text using the topic as a keyword. For example, if you are looking for theories in behavioral health, look up the Encyclopedia of Theories in Psychology for the entry of "Behavioral Health."  Under the entry, you will find common theories that have been used to research the topic.  

Communication Research Methods

Books on Research Methods, Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods in Social Sciences

Books in red are eBooks. 
For books on a particular method, such as the "grounded theory," search the library catalog with the method as a keyword.

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Video Tutorials on Research Methods and Statistics Programs

  • LinkedIn Learning Online Training (available @my.fsu.edu > Resources > Linkedin Learning)
    • Questionnaire/survey design
    • Survey Monkey 
    • Goole Forms  
    • Excel
    • SPSS 
    • NVivo 
    • Tableau (information visualization tool) training 
  • Qualtrics Survey (available @my.fsu.edu > Resources > Qualtrics Survey) 

Measures and Instruments

Measures, scales, indexes, and tests relevant to Communication Studies are available in the various types and formats of publications. Here are a few resources available through the FSU Libraries. 

SUBJECT RESOURCES NOTE
Communication [Books]
Communication Research Measures III: A Sourcebook  (2019. eBook w/unlimited access)
...Offers an assessment of measures in mass, interpersonal, instructional, group, organizational, family, health, and intercultural communication and highlights work in emergent subdisciplines in communication, including social media and new communication technologies, sports communication, and public relations.

Communication Research Measures II: A Sourcebook 
(2011. eBook w/unlimited access)
... Includes measures from outside the communication discipline that have been employed in communication research.

[Journal]
Communication Methods and Measures

[Databases]
Communication & Mass Media Complete 

Explore the Communication Research Measures:A Sourcebook series to explore scales and measures in Communication and other related fields. 

At the Communication & Mass Media Complete database, if you know the name of the test or scale, enter the name. Change the drop-down menu to AB for abstracts. If you want to explore measurements and tests on a topic, enter the subject keyword on the first row. On the next row of the search box, type test OR scale OR measure OR survey OR questionnaire OR index. Change the drop-down menu to AB for abstracts.

Psychology [Databases] 
APA PsycTests 
...Provides access to noncommercial, unpublished psychological tests, measures, scales, surveys, and other assessments

APA PsycINFO

At the APA PsycTests, you can find the original publication where your test or measures were published. Check the bibliography of the article to trace papers that cited the original source. 

Watch this short YouTube video tutorial on how to find tests at  the APA PsycTests here

At the APA PsycINFO database (ProQuest), enter the name of the test or measure, then on the drop-down menu, select "Test and measure - TM." 

If you want to find studies that analyze a test or measure, enter the name of the test on the first row of the search box, and on the drop-down menu, select the “Test and Measure” field. Then enter the terms reliability OR validity on the next row. Combine the two rows by the AND connector. 

Health

[Databases]
Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI)
...Provides  access to information on measurement instruments (i.e., questionnaires, interview schedules, checklists, index measures, coding schemes/ manuals, rating scales, projective techniques, vignettes/scenarios, tests) in the health fields, psychosocial sciences, organizational behavior, and library and information science

Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print
...provides information on +2,000 contemporary testing instruments in psychology, education, business, and leadership.  

CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature) Plus with Full Text

 
Marketing [Books]

Marketing scales handbook. Multi-item measures for consumer insight research. Volume 10
(2019. eBook w/ unlimited access)

Marketing scales handbook. Multi-item measures for consumer insight research. Volume 9
(2017. eBook w/ unlimited access)  

Handbook of Marketing Scales: Multi-Item Measures for Marketing and Consumer Behavior Research (2011. eBook w/ unlimited access)

[Databases] 
Business Source Complete
ABI/INFORM Collection 

At the business article databases, enter a subject term. On the next row, enter Test OR Scale OR Measure OR Index OR Survey and choose AB for abstracts. Then combine subject keywords by the AND connector. 
E.g., (Test OR Scale OR Measure OR Index OR Survey) AND "social media"
Education [Databases] 
ERIC
ETS Test Collection
 
At the ERIC database (ProQuest), in the Document Type box, check the 160: Tests/Questionnaires box and add your subject search term. 
Social Sciences [Database]
Sage Research Methods Online
Sage Research Methods Online provide access to the full text of research methods books published by the Sage Publishers(such as the Little Green Books series and the Little Blue Books series)
General [Database]
Dissertations & Theses Global (ProQuest) 
Social Science Premium Collection
Check the appendix of a thesis or dissertation for an original survey questionnaire or details of the research method.

 

Polls and Statistics

Public Opinions
              Pew Research Center https://www.pewresearch.org/   (explore Topics)
              iPOLL Databank (Roper Center) https://lib.fsu.edu/get/ipoll

Census
              U.S. Census Bureau http://census.gov
              American FactFinder…provides community-level demographic information 
                            https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml
              U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/data/

Statistical Databases (@FSU Libraries)
              Statista
              DemographicsNow   https://lib.fsu.edu/get/demnow
              Social Explorer
              ProQuest Statistical Insights  https://lib.fsu.edu/get/saus 
              Historical Statistics of the United States https://lib.fsu.edu/get/hsus

Health Statistics
              National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/
                            E.g., Smoking
              MedlinePlus Health Statistics https://medlineplus.gov/healthstatistics.html
              World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global Health Observatory   
                             https://www.who.int/data/gho
                             E.g., Nigeria’s neonatal mortality rate

FSU Student Statistics
              FSU Office of Institutional Research https://ir.fsu.edu/students.aspx

Statistics on College Students
              Almanac of Higher Education (from The Chronicle of Higher Education)
                             https://www.chronicle.com/section/Almanac-of-Higher-Education/141
             
              Open Doors (for international students in the U.S. and American students studying abroad)
              https://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Insights/Open-Doors

              Tip:
              Newspapers or journal articles might be an excellent source to look up the statistics on college    
              students.  Depending on your research topic, you might want to explore a Psychology database
              such as APA PsycINFO, an Education database such as ERIC, or even a Nursing database such as
              CINAHL.
                             PsychINFO 
 https://lib.fsu.edu/get/psycinfo
                             ERIC https://lib.fsu.edu/get/ericcsa
                             CINAHL  https://lib.fsu.edu/get/cinahlft

              At Google Scholar, try the following search statement:
                          ("college students" OR "university students") "mental health" survey
             
à This will yield papers, blogs, etc. that are about survey research on mental health issues of
              college students.  Please note that I used quotes for a phrase searching, and used parentheses
              to group similar concepts together.  
                             Another example:
                         ("college students" OR "university students") ("video game" OR gaming) qualitative
              Not always, but highly likely, you may find the questionnaire that was used to conduct the
              research at the Appendix or Supporting Material section of a research paper.

Others
              CIA The World Factbook (for a country stats)
                             https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
              Google Public Data
https://www.google.com/publicdata/directory
              Data.gov…a source for U.S. government’s open data

Basics of Business Research

Company information
              Company Website > About > Invest Relations  (or Investors) > Annual Report
              Business Source Complete database …Company profile. SWOT Analysis.
                            E.g., Microsoft

Industry information
              For sales, audiences, revenue, the proportion of the market (market ratio)
             
              IBISWorld Industry Market Research database…Industry report. Industry SWOT analysis
                              https://lib.fsu.edu/get/ibisworld
                            E.g., Beer (brewery) industry  (for major players and the market share)

              eMarketer Pro https://lib.fsu.edu/get/emarket 
                            
E.g., Internet of Things (under Media), college students (under Demographics)

 

Consumer and Market information
              Mintel Academic
                            E.g., Movie theatres (see data book), luxury consumers.
                                           Search the database with “college students” to pull off various market reports
                                           on college students

Business Journal Articles
              Business Source Complete database https://lib.fsu.edu/get/bscomp
              ABI/INFORM Collection database https://lib.fsu.edu/get/abi-com

 Statistics
              Statista http://lib.fsu.edu/get/stati  

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