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Journalism & Public Relations: JOUR 418

Journalism: Past, Present and Future

Whether your professor gives you a list of possible topics or you choose your own, first:

  • Pick more than one to test. For example, choose a concept and a person. Or an organization and a concept.
  • Choosing more than one will give you an idea of the type of research available for each topic.
Notable People Organizations Concepts
Joseph Pulitzer New York Times Social Media
Edward Snowden WikiLeaks Objectivity

Start by searching for books on your topic using OneSearch. A book or book chapter on your topic will make your research much easier.

Before you choose a final topic, it is important to test a few topics to see what kind of research is available. This will save you lots of time later.

To test your topic ideas, use the OneSearch box on the Library home page. For example, a search for Joseph Pulitzer would yield these 60,000+ results.

A better search is to put Joseph Pulitzer's name in quotation remarks-- "Joseph Pulitzer" --to search for the phrase. It would yield about 12,000 results, including about 1,400 articles from peer reviewed journals (see filters to the left of the results.)

Now search for objectivity. This produces more than 700,000 results, with more than a quarter million articles from peer-reviewed journals. In this case, to filter the results you would want to use the Subject filter to the left of the results. Choose Journalism. This narrows the results to about 2,000.

Now try searching WikiLeaks. How many results did you get? How many are peer-reviewed journal articles? Quiz.

More on OneSearch

Researching Your Topic

Next, try OneSearch for scholarly journal articles or try one of these databases for scholarly sources or news articles. 

Then FILTER your results! Most important is the SUBJECT filter, which will help help you refine your results to those that are ABOUT they keywords, rather than just mentioning them.

Videos to Help with Research

The first step is to turn your topic into keywords. If your topic is a person, start with their name in quotation marks. Then add keywords to narrow the results. You might want to add Journalism AND History, for example.

Here is a video to help you develop keywords.

Using the Databases

The videos below will walk you how to structure your searches to make them more effective and to find additional resources using citation.