STCM 10300: Introduction to Strategic Communication

About this Guide:

​This Guide will cover basic skills such as:
  • How to find a citation
  • Keeping Informed
  • Planning your search strategy
  • Running searches for types of information
  • Finding and using library research help guides to select databases 
  • Gaining an awareness of professional ethics

Finding a Citation

You want to find this citation:

Reber, B. H., & Gower, K. K. (2006). Avow or Avoid? The Public Communication Strategies of Enron and WorldCorn. Journal Of Promotion Management, 12(3/4), 215-239. doi:10.1300/J057v12n03•12.
  1. Examine your citation and determine the journal title (NOT the article title).  In this case it is the Journal of Promotion Management
  2. Click on the Articles tab on the library's homepage.  Under the "Journals" box, type your title in the box after "Title begins with" and click go.  You'll access a screen displaying the library's fulltext access to either print, microfilm, or electronic resources.  If there is none, you'll see a link to borrow the article via Interlibrary Loan.
  3. Examine the volume and year of your citation. The volume in the citation above is 12 and it was published in 2006.  Compare this information to the fulltext holdings. Communication and Mass Media Complete has the  Journal of Promotion Management from 2001 to 18 months ago
  4. Click on Communication and Mass Media Complete, and then browse to 2006, then click on the issue 3/4 (it should be the 12th article down);  OR click "search within this publication" and put Reber in the second search box and Avow in the third.  This should bring your right to the fulltext!  If you did not receive results, double-check your spelling.
Visual Learners: Would you prefer to watch me do this?  Watch this short video.

Keep informed

Try and identify top journals or newswires in your field and set up email or RSS alerts; you can also follow them in Twitter, Google+ or Facebook. Alerts be done directly from the journal website. Library databases offer alerts but require you to create accounts; library databases may offer fulltext holdings whereas the online journal may offer partial full-text to non-subscribers. Some trade sites to follow:

Database Selection

Look at Guide Me > Subject Guides to help in database selection. Many library subject guides list out top resources for each subject area. It is good to search two or three databases as each databases indexes a different group of journals, magazines and newspapers (there is typically some overlap).  Another method is to click on the Databases tab > Best Bets and use the subject drop-down menu.

Related Strat Com guides: Best Bets:
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete (CMMC) Indexes journals in the field of communications. EBSCO Interface.  Included in the Article Quick Search (upper right of this guide).
  • Business Source Premier (Original Interface) Indexes journals in the field of business. EBSCO Interface. Included in the Article Quick Search (upper right of this guide).
  • ABI/INFORM Complete Indexes journals in the field of business. ProQuest interface.
  • ScienceDirect   This is a "journal collection" rather than an aggregated database. All the content is by one publisher: Elsevier.  It has a lot of good public relations journals, however.
  • LexisNexis Academic   Use the News and Companies tab.
  • Business Insights: Essentials   If you need company, industry or association information, this is a good start.  Compare it to LexisNexis's Companies tab.  Note that information from trade association websites can be helpful.

Research Strategy Worksheet

Access this page in MS WordResearch Strategy Worksheet doc

1. Write down your research topic / story idea and circle the keywords:
2. Consider the key words you've circled.  Are there broader, narrower or related terms that can be searched? Write down these alternative keywords and use them to write a search strategy. Like terms are ORd together.

3. What are the subjects of the terms? Write down 1 or 2 subjects and corresponding databases. Subjects can be: art, business, politics, science, etc.  Note: Article Quicksearch (under the Article tab of the library's home page) is a good starting place; it searches across all EBSCO databases including: Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, and Communication and Mass Media Complete. It automatically limits to scholarly research.
SUBJECT 1:                                                SELECT THIS DATABASE:
SUBJECT 2:                                                SELECT THIS DATABASE:
4. Consider searching a variety of types of sources.  If you're not sure, consult with Cathy. 
Generally: biographies, dictionaries, directories, almanacs, encyclopedias, etc.)
Encyclopedia of communication theory
REF P87.5 .E496 2009
Encyclopedia of political communication
REF JA85 .E65 2008
IABC handbook of organizational communication : a guide to internal communication, public relations, marketing, and leadership
HD49 .H35 2010
Handbook of strategic public relations & integrated communications
HM263 .H317 2012
Handbook of crisis communication
HD49 .H34 2010
Handbook of communication and corporate social responsibility
HD60 .H334 2011
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online ,

Facts on File World News Digest
CQ Researcher ,  Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Library’s catalog, (what books and videos we have)
ebrary (online books) 
WorldCat (via FirstSearch)  (what we have plus books we don't have -- use Interlibrary loan to borrow)
BUSINESS:  ABI/INFORM Complete  Business Source Premier (Original Interface)
COMMUNICATION: Communication and Mass Media Complete (CMMC)
GENERAL: Academic Search Premier (EBSCO), ProQuest Research LibraryAcademic OneFile (GALE)
Organizational & governmental information
Company Websites:  ex. GM Investor Relations
Industry Websites: ex.  Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers 
Organizations: IIHS 
Government Websites   NHTSA  (National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration),  DOT (Department of Transportation)
Thomas - Legislative Information Bills
FDsys (GPO's Federal Digital System)  Federal Digital System -- online government documents
Oyez : U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia
Business Insights: Essentials (company and industry background information)  ex:  search:  General Electric
LexisNexis Academic  Content Type (upper right) > Company Dossier (company profiles including corporate family trees) ex. search:  General Electric.  Also good for law reviews and cases
LexisNexis Academic  Content Type (upper right) > All News > Advanced Options > Source Type:  Wires, All News (Wires contains Business Wire, PR Newswire);  see also:  Content Type >  Broadcast Transcripts   ex.  hlead("electric vehicles" or EN-V)
Gannett Newsstand Complete  (Includes the Ithaca Journal)  ex. pub(Ithaca Journal) AND ft(sustainability) AND ft("ithaca college")
Simmons OneView (demographic, psychographic & brand info -- see Cathy or Jim Bondra for help -- 5 Users can be logged on at a time)
Polling the Nations ex. search:   electric vehicle
American FactFinder
Statistical Abstract of the United States


Many professional organizations and industry associations develop ethics standards and guidelines or offer tips; here is a selection:

Communication Management & Design
Marketing & Advertising Public Relations Online e-book (authenticate with Netpass)

Roy L Moore,Advertising and public relations law (2nd ed. 2011). Contents: Chapter 1 The First Amendment; Chapter 2 The Development of the Commercial Speech Doctrine; Chapter 3 Public Interest Information as Commercial Speech; Chapter 4 Defamation, Product Disparagement and Related Torts; Chapter 5 Invasion of Privacy: False Light, Private Facts, Intrusion and Other Related Torts; Chapter 6 Invasion of Privacy: Misappropriation and Right of Publicity; Chapter 7 Copyright; Chapter 8 Patents and Trademarks; Chapter 9 Other Ways to Protect "Ideas"

Evaluating Websites, Media Relations

Note that big corporations will often have a Media Relations page; for example, here is one from Netflix.  Also look for Media Relations when seeking experts at colleges and universities; for example here is Ithaca College's Media Relations page. Organizations will also have contacts.  Government representatives always have multiple ways to contact them; for example Rep. Tom Reed, or, the Department of Enviornmental Conservation.  Seek a variety of perspectives from people in business, government, academic, as well as individual citizens.

Use the following criteria:
  • Accuracy: can you spot spelling errors or “fishy” statements?
  • Authority: who wrote the information on the website?    Is the author/s a professional or professional organization? Try and find out more about them.
  • Objectivity:  after reading about the purpose for the site, does the author or organization have a point of view that might slant or present information falsely? Check the “about” page). Is there a political slant? Are there advertisements; is someone trying to sell you an idea or product? 
  • Currency: when was the website last updated? Check the bottom of the page. Are there broken links? When was the latest information posted?
  • Appearance and layout:  does it appear professionally arranged? Does it load with ease?
Question everything, but generally official U.S./state government (.gov) and education (.edu) sites are more trustworthy than commercial (.com) and personal websites. 

Contact Us

Picture: Cathy Michael
Communications Librarian
(607) 274-1293

Clicking the GET IT arrow

GET IT icon

When searching, if you see the "GET IT" icon, click on it. You'll be taken to the full text or to ILL if full text is unavailable.

Researching Theories

Reference: Search Theories through Article Quick Search.  Click Limit to: Full Text in the left menu to quickly find full text.  Or, use the GET IT arrow to find full text in another database or request an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) if not available.  See Cathy for assistance.

EN-V Campaign Project

GAME: Goal, Audience Analysis, Message, and Evaluation

EN-V Background Corporate Communication functions

Search Books, e-books, and videos

Use the Advanced Search of the library's catalog to search by keyword: Use the catalog for books we own; use Worldcat for books we don't own.

LexisNexis Help: News searching

LexisNexis maintains a wiki of help screens to their product.  The library subscribes to an Academic product for colleges and universities. There are other professional and subscription products sold to practitioners; the content may differ based on what is licensed.

You may need to limit your results using boolean search operators or searching specific sections of a document:
  • Boolean searching  This page lists and defines proximity operators such as w/p (words within the same paragraph), w/s (words within the same sentence), atleast (you can say you want a word to appear atleast5 -- at least 5 times in the article which increases the relevancy), etc.
  • Advanced Search: Build your own search.  If you want to search by headline, byline, city, company geographic region, person, publication, etc. you may have build a search using segments.  This page explains what segments are and how to build a search.
These are wiki pages that define specific searchs in LexisNexis Academic:

Writing, Citing and Research

Library Writing and Research guides:
  • Finding Articles: This guide has screen shots to help you.
  • Types of Journals: What is the difference betwen trade and scholarly?
  • Search Strategies: Discusses search strategy construction including Boolean search language and truncation.
  • Best Practices in Research  Confused about Plagairism? This guide has a tutorial.
  • Noodlebib Users' Guide: Use Noodlebib to assist you in citing sources including APA.  
  • Writing and Citing: This is a tab on the library's website that includes self-help learning widgets, links to citation manuals and citing software, and additional guides for scholarly writing.

Browse Journals for Strat Com