This is the "Getting Started" page of the "MCM 350 - Media Theory and Ethics" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

MCM 350 - Media Theory and Ethics  

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

How to Select a Research Topic?

A Place to Start: suggestions

Step 1:  Develop a research question. Be as specific as possible. Example: 

Should companies like Facebook be allowed to secretly experiment on their users? (from a yes or no question) to:

How should one respond to changing privacy issues related to Facebook's experimentation on user's personal information?

Step 2: Highlight or list key words within the body of the question. 

Step 3: Find a good overview of the topic. Librarians are happy to help you find one. (This does not mean looking at journal articles.) Background information may be found in textbooks or reference resources such as CREDO or Gale Virtual Reference as well as the print sources listed in this guide. Some helpful print sources are listed.

Step 4: Create or revise a research question with multiple points of view. You are not writing a report that can be answered by searchng one specific source. A good research question looks at a variety of sources and a variety of points of view. 

Online Reference Resources

  • Credo Reference
    Provides access to encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations, as well as a range of subject-specific titles.
  • Oxford Reference
    Offers multidisciplinary and cross-searchable dictionary and reference works published by Oxford University Press.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)
    Provides encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.
  • Biography in Context
    Provides biographical information for thousands of significant people throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines and subject areas.
  • Contemporary Authors
    Provides biographical and bibliographical information and references to thousands of international authors.


This YouTube video give a framework for higher order thinking and evaluating sources to use.


60 Minutes: How Fake News Becomes A Popular, Trending Topic


Background Sources

Cover Art
21st Century Communication - William F. Eadie (Editor)
Call Number: REF 302.2 T91
ISBN: 9781412950305
Publication Date: 2009-05-15

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of Communication Theory - Stephen W. Littlejohn (Editor); Karen A. Foss (Editor)
Call Number: REF 302.203 En 19L
ISBN: 9781412959377
Publication Date: 2009-08-18

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of Media and Politics - Todd M. Schaefer; Thomas A. Birkland
Call Number: REF 302.23 E 19a
ISBN: 9781568028354
Publication Date: 2006-10-27

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of New Media - Steve Jones (Editor)
Call Number: REF 302.23 E564e
ISBN: 0761923829
Publication Date: 2002-12-10

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of Children, Adolescents, and the Media - Jeffrey Jensen Arnett (Editor)
Call Number: REF 302.23083 EN 19c
ISBN: 1412905303
Publication Date: 2006-12-14

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture - Tony Kelso; Brian Cogan
Call Number: REF 302.23 EN 19P
ISBN: 9780313343797
Publication Date: 2009-10-01

Encyclopedia of Communication and Information - Jorge Reina Schement (Editor)
Call Number: REF 302.2 En 19S 2002
ISBN: 0028653831
Publication Date: 2001-10-01

Meet Linda

Profile Image
Linda Lambert
Logo - FacebookLogo - Twitter
Get in Touch with Me
Zondervan Library 121
Send Email
My favorite book is...:
oh, too many to mention. Ask me about some of them.
I spend my free time...:
knitting, traveling, reading, meeting with friends.
My favorite Library resource or tool is...:
Gale Virtual Reference --it's amazing
My favorite part of being a Librarian is...:
helping you find quality information and seeing you succeed.

Kinds of Sources to Use by Format

1.  One of the first things to think about is what are the kinds of sources to use in writing a research paper?

  • Reference/background sources
  • Books or e-books
  • Articles: academic journals
  • Articles: non-scholarly, popular magazines, newspapers
  • Statistics or other supporting materials

Start with Zondervan Library tools and resources. Why? These will steer you to solid research on your topic. This guide will point to finding all of these formats. 


Loading  Loading...