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CST - Communication Studies AN

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For individual research help, schedule an appointment to meet with a librarian.

Article Databases

The following databases are recommended for research in Communication Studies. Many more databases can be accessed via the Databases by Subject or Databases A to Z list.

Use your MyNOVA username and password to access databases off-campus. Note that off-campus access is only granted to current registered students, faculty, and staff.

Database Search Tips

The following table includes tips on how to search in library databases. While some variation exists among databases, these tips are a reliable place to start. Databases will always have a 'Help' section to refer to if needed. Start with simpler searches.


Operator Tip


What it Does


nonverbal communication”   house of cards

Enclose a phrase in quotation marks to search for an exact phrase rather than by the individual words.


microaggression AND media AND America

Use AND to focus a search by connecting concepts.  Results will contain all three terms of microaggression, media and America


language AND (teenagers OR “young adults”OR adolescents)

Use OR between similar concepts, which will broaden search results.  In this example, results retrieved will include items containing language AND teenagers; language AND “young adults” ; language AND adolescents


apple NOT (fruit OR juice)

Use NOT to narrow a search by excluding results.  In this example, content containing the word fruit OR juice will be excluded from your results, thereby increasing the likelihood of results about Apple the technology company



Use an asterisk * after the root of a word to expand your results to include different variations of a word: communicate, communication, communicators, community, communities, etc.



What it Does

✓ Limit results to full-text

Eliminates results containing abstracts and citations only, and not the full article.

✓ Limit results by date

Focuses results based on the date range you specify.

✓ Use database subject terms/ thesaurus

Concentrates results around a particular subject term, which can be really helpful if you identify a good one.

✓ Limit results by searching for keywords in the abstract

Limits results to keywords found in the abstract of the article rather than in the full text, which in theory should provide more relevant results.

✓ Limit results by source publication or content type

Excludes results to source/ content types you are not interested in viewing.

How to Find the Full Text of an Article

What is Full Text?

"Full Text" means that the complete article can be read online or downloaded onto your computer or mobile device.

How to Find a Full Text article:

1) Look for a link that says Full Text, Full Text PDF, or Full Text HTML.  This will bring up the complete article, and you can usually print it, email it, or download it.

Full text example

2) If there is no Full Text link, look for a link that says LincIt or Link to Full Text.  If the full text of the article is available in a different database, it will take you there automatically.

Link to article in another database

3) If you do not see any of the above, try the next option below:

When starting with a citation (for example, for an article found via Google, or one recommended by an instructor):

1) Go to the eJournal Title List

2) Type in the title of the journal, magazine, or newspaper (NOT the article title)

Electronic Journal Title Search

3) If full text articles from that publication are available in our databases or in print in one of the NOVA libraries, you will see information indicating that.

4) Any databases that have full text articles will be linked. Pay attention to the date range listed for each database- you have to be sure that it covers the date of your article.

5) If a database covers the date of your article, click on the link. If you are off campus, log in with your myNOVA username/password.  Once in the database, either navigate to the year/volume/issue you need, or try a search for the title of your article (sometimes it can help to put the title in quotes if you're sure you have the title 100% correct). 

When nothing works:

Check with your campus library. Your librarians may be able to find the full text of your article somewhere else, or it may be possible to use Interlibrary Loan services to request a copy from a non-NOVA library.

Types of Articles

There are different types of articles. Here are some tips on how to identify an article you've found:

News Articles

News articles provide the most current information. Certain newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are also known for thoughtful , in-depth analysis of important topics and events.

Popular Magazine Articles 

Popular magazine articles can help you generate ideas about issues, controversies, or unanswered questions about a topic, which you may want to explore further. They sometimes refer to studies or scholarly work that you can track down for more information. Examples include Time, The Atlantic and Vanity Fair.

Trade Publications Articles

Trade publication articles are written by and for professionals within an industry or profession. These are an excellent source of very specific information from inside the field. Library Journal is an example of a trade journal in librarianship.

Scholarly Journal Articles

Scholarly journal articles go through a process of peer review before they are published. They are written by experts in the field, and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within the discipline. These articles sometimes present original research data and findings or may take a position on a key question within the field. These are in depth articles, but often with a narrow scope. They can be difficult to read because their intended audience is other experts and academics. Still, these are the top of the line when it comes to authoritative information.

When searching for articles you'll often find a mix of things:

  • Full Text: the complete article is provided
  • Abstracts:  Only a summary of the article is provided
  • Citations: Only information about the article (title, author, journal/magazine name, date, etc.) is provided

These types of results can be found in the library databases, but also when searching on the open web (for example, in Google Scholar).  This guide tells you how to track down the full text of an article.