The University Libraries have many, many databases. It can be confusing to select one.
It can be helpful to start your search with a more general database, such as Academic Search Premier, Google Scholar, or Web of Science (which is actually all topics, not just science.) These databases are very broad in scope and have articles on pretty much every topic. The more specific, discipline-related databases can also be very helpful but are also limited in that they generally have articles from a small number of subject-specific journals. Please see the recommended databases section of this guide for lists of databases.
Search terms, also called keywords, are words you select to represent the main concepts of your research topic. Unlike Google and other natural-language based search engines, library databases do not respond to questions or search full sentences. Instead, you must enter specific search terms in database search boxes. These terms allow the database to find articles on your topic. Without the right keywords, you may have difficulty finding relevant articles. Some examples of a keywords relevant to Communication Studies might be "interpersonal communication," which you could combine with all sorts of other keywords, such as "children" or "marriage" or "workplace" or "body language" or "conflict."
Selecting keywords is a multi-step process:
Common Keywords in Communication: These links list possible keywords for each topic area below. These suggested keywords are just to give you examples and get you started.
Scholarly peer review (or "refereeing") is a process of having experts in a field evaluate a research paper or book for quality prior to publication. The opinion of the experts (so the "peers" of the author of the paper or book) helps the editors of an academic journal or publisher decide if the work is good enough (or original enough, done with the best methodology, etc.) to publish. The reviewers also usually give recommendations on how the author can improve their work. Peer review is meant to assure that quality research is published.
How peer review is conducted:
How to Identify Peer Reviewed Resources