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Research Guides

Communication (COMM) 421 [Sweet]: Conduct a Literature Search

Conduct a Literature Search

To find literature about a topic, we first need to identify the topic's key concepts and the related keywords.

Sample topic: Nonverbal communication and gesture use during fabricated and truthful accounts of previous experiences

Key concepts Related keywords
Nonverbal communication Body language, eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, nonverbal behaviors
Deception Lying, insincere, trickery, deceit, dishonest
Cognitive load Working memory, intrinsic, extraneous, germane
Gestures Adaptors, emblems, illustrators

The final step is to select a library resource, like a database or journal, and search for the topic using a few different search tricks.

Type your search terms into a search box to find articles related to the topic.

Search trick Example Description
"Quotation marks" "nonverbal communication" Each result will contain the exact phrase included in the quotes


Google Scholar: A space = AND

"nonverbal communication" AND deception

Google Scholar: "nonverbal communication" deception

Each result will contain all keywords
OR + parentheses () ("cognitive load" OR "working memory") Each result will contain at least one of the keywords connected by OR and included in the parentheses
Asterisk (*) dece* = deceit, deceive, deceived, deception, etc. Each result will include variations of the root of the keyword

Combine AND, quotation marks, OR and parentheses, and asterisks * to create a more complex searches.

Example: "nonverbal communication" AND ("cognitive load" OR "working memory") AND gestures AND dece*

Library Journals (COMM 421 List)

Below is the list of approved journals for COMM 421

Visit the Guide to Communication Studies for a list of other journals that may include articles related to your topic.

Databases for Communication Studies

Library Databases: Use these resources to search for your topic in multiple journals at once.

Library Databases: Use these resources to search for your topic in multiple journals at once.

Use Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a Library service that allows you to request materials, such as articles or books, that are neither owned by the UI Library nor available through Summit.

Interlibrary Loan is free.

First time users: Visit the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) website to set-up your ILL account

To place an Interlibrary Loan request:

  1. Search for the item you would like to request using the Library catalog
  2. If this item does not appear in the search results, visit the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) website
  3. Click 'ILLiad Login'
  4. Enter your U of I - NetID credentials
  5. Under 'New Request,' click the item type
  6. Fill-in the required fields, then click on 'Submit'
    • You will receive an email when your item is ready to pick-up or download