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MEDIAST 130: Research Methods in Media Studies Fall 2017: Getting Started

Instructor: Timke

Keywords - Brainstorming

Developing appropriate keywords/search terms is an essential part of research.  First, break your topic into components.  Develop a list of synonyms and alternative terminology for each component.  Think about broader and narrower concepts and word variants.  What words can you exclude?

Topic: Image of African American Women in Advertising

image(s) or stereotyp(es)(ing) or depict(ion) or portray(al)...

african american(s) or black(s) or minorit(y)(ies)

women or gender

advertis(e)(ing) or media

Remember to be creative with your terminology!  More examples:          

people of color and environmental activism*
environmental justice
environmental justice and hazardous waste*
environmental equity
environmental discrimination
environmental racism
environmental injustice

 

Brainstorming Academic Disciplines

Example:

Topic:  Image of African American women in advertising

potentially relevant disciplines:

African American Studies
Gender and Women's Studies
Ethnic Studies
Media Studies
Psychology
Sociology
Business
etc.

 

What is Peer Review?

Your instructor may want you to use "peer reviewed" articles as sources for your paper. Or you may be asked to find picture of thinking student"academic," "scholarly," or "refereed" articles. What do these terms mean?

Let's start with the terms academic and scholarly, which are synonyms. An academic or scholarly journal is one intended for a specialized or expert audience. Journals like this exist in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Examples include Nature, Journal of Sociology, and Journal of American Studies. Scholarly/academic journals exist to help scholars communicate their latest research and ideas to each other; they are written "by experts for experts."

Most scholarly/academic journals are peer reviewed; another synonym for peer reviewed is refereed. Before an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it's evaluated for quality and significance by several specialists in the same field, who are "peers" of the author. The article may go through several revisions before it finally reaches publication.

Magazines like Time or Scientific American, newspapers, (most) books, government documents, and websites are not peer-reviewed, though they may be thoroughly edited and fact-checked. Articles in scholarly journals (in printed format or online) usually ARE peer-reviewed.

How can you tell if an article is both scholarly and peer-reviewed?

Examples of Background Sources

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