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COMM305: Persuasion and Propaganda

Class research guide for COMM305: Persuasion and Propoganda, curated by liaison librarian

Liaison Librarian

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Sarah McClure Kolk
Office: HL407
(for 2023-2024 academic year)

Getting Started with Research for COMM305!

Researching a Speech and Social Movement: Tips

For this assignment, you've been asked to do research on your chosen speech from the Voices of Democracy website: "In addition to the interpretative essay that accompanies your chosen speech, please research 5 additional sources that provide information on the context, the social movement, the speech’s impact, and/or the communication strategies employed." (from the assignment description but emphases mine).

  1. Be creative in researching different aspects of the speech (see bolded aspects above).
  2. Search Communication and Mass Media Complete (the core COMM database) to research the rhetorical strategies and context of the speech and/or social movement.
  3. Use SearchStart and/or at least 2-3 other specific databases to research the speech, speaker, social movement, historical period, and/or the issue/cause itself.
  4. For background or historical research, books or subject encyclopedias might also be helpful.
  5. Follow the citation trails!  Start first with the "Suggested Resources" bibliography connected to the Voices of Democracy interpretative essay on your speech, but always look at cited references or bibliographies in other sources too, to find more related research.

Selected Books at Hekman

Encyclopedia of Rhetoric
The SAGE Handbook of Persuasion
Encyclopedia of American Social Movements
Handbook of Social Movements Across Disciplines (2nd ed.)
The Social Movements Reader
Social Movements and Activism in the USA
Readings on Social Movements

Library Catalog Search Tips

For broad background on social movements, try one of these catalog subject headings:

Social movements

Social movements > United States

Or, look for the subject heading related to specific movements or causes, for example:

Women's rights > United States

Civil rights > United States > History

Independent Voices

Recommended Databases

Finding More Sources by Citations

Use this handout to help you know how to track down sources from citations you find in bibliographies: