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Journalism & Mass Communication Research Guide : Tips & Terms

This research guide will help you find resources for journalism and mass communication research.

Citing Sources

Artificial Intelligence

Generative AI tools are becoming more prevalent, and you may come across it or wish to use it. This UW Libraries research guide on generative AI is a useful resource to have:

Generative AI Research Guide


What is a database?

A database is a collection of resources (such as journal articles, newspaper articles, and research studies). Depending on the database, the resources might cover a wide range of topics, or they might be all related to one overarching topic.

Tips for searching databases:

  • Use the "advanced search" option to add multiple terms & keywords to your search
  • If your initial search yields too many broad results, narrow them down by adding more terms to your search
  • If your initial search yields too few results, broaden your search by eliminating some of your search terms
  • Use "AND" between search terms to make your search more specific
  • Use "OR" between search terms to make your search broader
  • Filter your search results by using the filters available, such as publication date and type (usually these are located on the side of the webpage)
  • Use synonyms to make sure you're catching all the results relevant to your search (ex: youth OR children OR kids)

Scholarly vs Trade Journals

What is the difference between a scholarly journal and a trade journal?

A scholarly journal is a resource in which original research is published by leaders in the field of study after it has been reviewed by other leaders in their field. Thus, scholarly journals are also sometimes called peer-reviewed journals because of this key moderating process. Because these journals are meant for industry or field insiders, the language used may be highly technical and the articles almost always include extensive bibliographies at the end.

Trade journals are sometimes called 'glossy' because they tend to have glossy pages and photographs to liven up articles that are meant to reflect the latest trends or happenings in an industry or field.  These articles tend to be brief, do not include a bibliography, and are written by industry practitioners. 

If you need assistance, please contact the Journalism Reading Room Librarian or stop by the Journalism Reading Room at 2130 Vilas Hall.

Journalism Reading Room

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