MC 396 - Strategic Communication Research

A course guide for students doing research for MC 396

Library Research Guide

Starting your research

The Search It box found on the Libraries' home page is a good place to begin research. It will find articles, books, etc. The videos below will illustrate how to conduct and refine a search using Search It.

Get started with Search It

Watch this video for a brief introduction to the functions and features of Search It. Use Search It to look for books, articles, and much more! (2 minutes 13 seconds)

Produced by K-State Libraries


While Search It is a great way to start your search, it doesn't cover all of our databases, and sometimes you want to do a more focused search. In that case, you will want to go directly to the database you want to search.


Databases will find journal, magazine, and newspaper articles (and in some cases other materials like book chapters, dissertations, conference presentations, pamphlets, etc.) To get to databases, go to the Libraries’ home page and click on databases below the Search It box.

Recommended databases for this class include:

Other Useful Databases:

Because Journalism and Mass Communications may cover a variety of topics, your topic might fall in a subject area that would be covered by another database. Use the dropdown "All Subjects" box on our databases page to see the subject listings, or ask a librarian for help picking one that would be good for your topic. 

How to search

Most databases, although they look different, search in similar ways. You can search the databases in many ways to find relevant research, including:

  • If the database has a thesaurus, use it to help you find appropriate subject terms.

  • Use a keyword search for the specific subject you are interested in (race, postmodernism, leadership, etc...).

  • Use OR when you want to find either of the search terms, AND when you want both.

  • Try truncating keywords using asterisks: ethnograph* to get ethnography or ethnographic.

  • Put phrases in quotes: “case study” “feminist theory”

  • Use limits to help find the specific kind of article you want. Most databases allow you to limit to scholarly or peer-reviewed articles.

Here is an example of a search using Communications & Mass Media Complete. The first line searches for "feminist theory" or "feminist critique". The quotation marks mean that it will search for the words together as a phrase, the OR means that the records you find will have either of those phrases. The second line searches for "politic*". The asterisk allows it to be a longer word, so we will get politics, political, politicians, etc.

Communication and Mass Media Complete

Getting the articles

Many of the articles you find will be available online.

If you don’t see the full text on the database you are searching, use the Get It button to see if the full text of the article is available through another source.

If you find a citation to something that we don’t own, most of the time we can borrow it from another library. Please allow yourself enough time to do this! Interlibrary Loan usually gets materials very quickly, but it can take 1-2 business days for articles and 3-10 business days for books (or longer if you are off campus).

Click on “Not Available? Request from Interlibrary Loan” from the Get It menu or “Interlibrary Loan” on the library home page. For more information, see our Interlibrary Services page.

Interlibrary Loan link on Get It menu

Finding books


Use the Search It box on the Libraries' home page to find books and other materials owned by K-State Libraries. 

WorldCat contains Information about books, serials, videos, and other items cataloged by institutions including K-State. It contains more than 57 million records with bibliographic information and information regarding which libraries hold the item in question. If K-State does not own the item you need, use Get It to request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Google Books lists almost every book ever published, and will often give you a preview of the contents of the book. If K-State does not own the item you need, you can fill out an Interlibrary Loan Request.