Selected Edition:  
Follow us on     


Viewing Hints

Updated for the 9th Edition

Site Features

This page provides tips to help you make the best use of the site. You can also read more about changes in the 9th Edition of the text as well as changes to the website for the 9th edition.

Selecting Your Edition

You can choose to view resources for the latest edition of the text (9th, 2014), as well as the 7th and 8th editions—and switch between them if needed. Simply click on the book cover icons in the header to change editions. The 9th edition is the "default." If you have cookies enabled in your browser, it will remember the last edition selection you made. Support for the 7th Edition will likely end once the 9th Edition is well established. Should this occur, advance warning will be given on the site.

Finding Information about Theories and Section Introductions

The heart of the site is the Theory Resources section, which provides links to an array of material, some from the Instructors Manual and other designed specifically for the website. You can view resources by type or by theory (which includes section introductions) in alphabetical order from the drop-down list. In View by Theory, once you have selected a theory, you can navigate forward and backward in the order in which material appears in the book.

To find resources by book layout, you may find it quicker to use the Table of Contents page, with links to Theory Resources.

You can also use the Theory List page, which provides a list of all theories covered in the selected edition or archived from previous editions. The Theory List can be sorted by theory name or theorist.

There is an Archive of theories no longer appearing as full chapters in the selected edition. These are PDF documents of the chapter from the last edition in which the theory appeared, linked from the Theory List or from the Archive button in Theory Resources.

The Text Compare button provides a listing of nearly 200 theories covered by A First Look and ten of the other leading texts in communicatin theory. The table is updated to the most recent edition of the included texts.

Self-Help Quizzes have been completely rewritten for the 9th edition by co-author Andrew Ledbetter (the McGraw-Hill site will use the same Self-Help questions for the 9th edition). You can also choose to view 10, 15 or all 20 of the questions for the selected chapter. Questions are always shuffled each time you start a quiz, so you will always get a different order.

Technical Notes

Browser Compatibility

The compatibility of browsers with web standards keeps improving, however Internet Explorer remains behind the others in arriving at true compatibility. We check the site in the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, tweaking code where possible for the most faithful display and best performance. We have found Chrome to be the most consistent and reliable browser and recommend it (or Firefox) for most users.

Always use the latest browser version your computer will support.

Accessing the Site on Different Devices

A growing number of users are accessing the site through tablets and smartphones. The immediate release of the 9th Edition upgrade works well on tablets we have tested. Modifications will be made through the summer of 2014 for the smaller screens of smartphones.


In 2013 we updated playback of the Conversation Videos, moving to MP3 files, which are now nearly universal. We retained an option to play the original Flash Video files in the 8th Edition version of the site in addition to a smaller MP3 file. For the 9th Edition, we are using only MP3 files, with the newest videos in HD format. The viewer has been redeisgned for quicker access to the videos. We have also added the videos to a YouTube account, accessible through the link in the site header.

Note: videos may not play well on some public Wi-Fi networks. (You will notice the same problem with YouTube and most other videos, since the problem has to do with restricted bandwidth on some of these networks).

Browser Resolution and Text Size

These features were dropped with the update to the 8th edition, since the resolution of monitors (including most tablets) keeps increasing and all browsers now have native support for zooming (which is better than changing text size alone) and accessability features.


When you see a printer icon on pages within the First Look site, it will print only the core content on that page, eliminating all of the navigation and other surrounding page elements, and printing the entire contents of a scrolling window.

updated April 28, 2014

Back to top