STCM 10300: Introduction to Strategic Communication


Use this research guide to help with assignments in order to:

  • Research theories and theorists in communication 
  • Find information that will assist in writing a communication intervention including:
    How to formulate and execute a research strategy for composing a situational analysis
    How to determine how other organizations address communication problems via benchmarking. 
  • Know your librarian & feel comfortable asking her for help!

Researching Theories

If you need a broad overview of a theory or theorist, try an encyclopedia:  Search for theories in articles through our EBSCO databases. 
Click on the theory to find articles that mention that theory in our EBSCO databases.  Use the left menu to narrow the search or add a keyword to the empty box and re-run the search.

Best Bets: Databases

  • EBSCO Research Library  This searches across all the indexes on the EBSCO plaform including Communication Source and Business Source Premier.
    You can search Business Source Premier (Original Interface)  directly.
  • ABI/INFORM Collection Indexes journals in the field of business. ProQuest interface.  This database is included in the library's homepage search.
  • Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis)  Scroll down and click on the Business topic.  Look up a company or industry or get business news.
  • Statista
    A statistics portal that provides data on over 80,000 topics from more than 10,000 different sources.  The content is purely aggregated statistics, geared towards business and marketing statistical needs, with a focus on current awareness.  Easy-to-use infographics and tables are available for download as images to insert into presentations.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Research Strategy: Communication Intervention

1.  PLAN. You will propose a communication intervention for your client.  What is the core nature of that intervention? What is your industry? Write down your intervention and industry as keywords & phrases.  
  • Intervention:  (Ex.: fundraising, social media marketing, website development and user experience, advertising through local media outlets, writing a press release, designing a poster or handout, repairing an image or reputation, event management, etc.)
  • Industry: (Ex: Education, Technology, Human Resources / Talent Management, Information, Health & Fitness, Personnel Management, Public Administration, Charitable Organizations, Advertising and Public Relations, etc.)

2.  FORM A SEARCH STRATEGY:  OR together similar terms in (parenthesis); AND together those groups of terms.  An asterisk *  is a truncator  -- finds: advertisement, advertising, etc.
  • Sample search strategy:  "Public Administration"    AND    ( “social media” or facebook or twitter or tumbler )  
  • TIP:  Look at the subject fields of the articles in your search result; revise your search using subject terms.

3.   SEARCH BUSINESS INFORMATION (scholarly, trade and business news) 4.   SEARCH NEWSPAPERS
  • Use your keywords to search the following newspaper databases: Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis)  (national, international),  (includes the Ithaca Journal)
  • The library collects books on strategic communication practice (ex. How to market on Facebook, etc.)
6.  BENCHMARKING:  What are similar organizations doing to solve the problem?
List out three or more similar organizations to your client (could be in direct competition):




7.  AUDIENCE:  Who do you want to reach?   8.  COMMUNICATION CHANNELS:  How will you reach them?  
  • Websites, Social Media, local newspapers, radio and television, outdoor advertisements, posters, direct mail, newsletters chamber of commerce brochures, intranets, etc.. 

Use a variety of resource types

Consider searching a variety of types of sources.  If you're not sure, consult with Cathy. 
REFERENCE (Generally: biographies, dictionaries, directories, almanacs, encyclopedias, etc.) Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources
REF DESK HF5353 .E52  Lists key trade publications, databases and statistics for each industry.

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

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


Ithaca Yellow Pages

Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce

KEY COMPETITORS (national/international)

Hoover's Company Records - In-depth Records
BOOKS Library’s catalog, (what books and videos we have)

Ebook Central (formerly ebrary) (online books)

WorldCat via FirstSearch (what we have plus books we don't have—use Interlibrary loan to borrow)

Business Source Premier (Original Interface)
WEBSITES: Organizational & governmental information Company Websites: ex. Uber

Industry Websites: ex. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Organizations: ex. IIHS

FDsys (GPO's Federal Digital System) All federal documents  Federral Bills  Federal Regulations

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

CQ Researcher


Business Insights: Essentials (company and industry background information) 

Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) Content Type (upper right) > Company Dossier (company profiles including corporate family trees) 
NEWSPAPERS & TRANSCRIPTS Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis)  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   

 (Includes the Ithaca Journal) 
DATA & STATISTICS Statista aggregated business data

American FactFinder census data

Simmons OneView (demographic, psychographic & brand info)

SRDS Media Solutions Find media outlets to place advertisements

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 Source  > browse to 2006 > 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.

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.

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:


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"

Contact Us

picture of Cathy Michael
Communications Librarian
(607) 274-1293

Search Argos

Using the ACCORD Rubric

You’re writing a paper for a class.  You need sources.   How do you know which ones are the best?  In evaluating a source, you should keep in mind the context in which you will use it. Most sources are not inherently good or bad, but some are more appropriate than others in a given context. 

The Library's Guide on Evaluating Resources  explains the ACCORD rubric, developed by Ithaca College Librarians, that we will use in this session.

Briefly ACCORD means:

Agenda - Why was this information made available?
Credentials - Is the author of the source credible?
Citations - Does the author cite sources?
Oversight - Has the information been reviewed or refereed? 
Relevance - Does the source fit your needs?
Date - When was the information published/updated?

Tell Us What You Think

Please take a moment to complete this very short survey. Your responses will help us to address any further questions you may have.

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.

EN-V Campaign Project

GAME: Goal, Audience Analysis, Message, and Evaluation

EN-V Background

Browse Journals for Strat Com

Specific journal titles that might be of interest. You can set up content alerts through the databases.  Sometimes you may wish to set up alerts via the publisher's website: