Choosing a topic
When choosing a topic for your research paper, think about the following:
- Unless your instructor assigns a topic, try to select a topic that interests you.
- Make sure your topic is not too broad, or too narrow. You will find too much information when searching for a broad topic; and not enough information when searching for a narrow topic.
- If you already have a general topic, try searching the library's catalog or the library's databases for ideas on how to narrow that topic down.
- Visit the library's Reference Desk and request to view the following book: 10,000 ideas for term papers, projects, reports and speeches: Intriguing, original research topics for every student's need.
- For current events and issues in the news, try searching the library's database: CQ Researcher.
- For debatable or controversial issues, ask one of the librarians about the Opposing Viewpoints Series, the Taking Sides Series, Issues in Focus Series and/or the Current Controversies Series.
- Visit the Social Issues Research Guide. There you will find a list of current social issues to choose from.
Books will provide an excellent starting point for your research in the field of Public Relations. Reference books often give you background information and a general overview on your topic so that you can proceed with greater understanding to a more detailed treatment of your subject in other books and periodicals. Reference books may include specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, atlases and/or statistical reports. The librarian at the Reference Desk can help in locating an appropriate source. Listed below are the titles and call numbers of some of the Public Relations books in the library's reference collection. The reference collection is located on the main level of the library. Books with a location of Reference cannot be checked out of the library. The Circulating Collection is on the second floor of the library. Books with a location of Circulating may be checked out.
To search the Catalog for a book, click on it's callnumber below.
|Career Opportunities in Advertising and Public Relations||Reference||HF5828.4.F54 2002|
|Dartnell's Public Relations Handbook||Reference||HD59.D28|
|Dictionary of Marketing and Advertising||Reference||HF5415.R577 1995|
|Dictionary of Marketing Terms||Reference||HF5415.D4874 1995|
|Encyclopedia of Associations||Reference||HS17 .G334|
|Handbook of Public Relations||Reference||HD59.H267 2001|
|Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys (3 volumes)||Reference||HC106.6 .S74|
|The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising (3 volumes)||Reference||HF5803.A38 2003|
The library catalog is used to locate books both at RVCC, as well as from other libraries in the Somerset County Library System. Books will provide in-depth information not found in reference sources.
- Start with a Keyword search. Once you find one or two books about your topic, check the book's record to see what Subjects are being used. Once you find the appropriate Subject Heading, repeat your search using those headings. Generally, the results from a Subject search will always be more accurate than the results from a Keyword search.
- If you know the title of the book you are looking for, do a Title search.
- If you are looking for a book with a specific author, do an Author search (last name first).
Suggested Subject Headings for Public Relations:
Click a subject heading below to use it as the search term for a Subject Search in the catalog.
Consult with the reference librarian to find the term best suited to your needs.
Browse the Collection:
Most of the books can be found in the following areas:
- HC -- Economic history and conditions
- HD59 - 59.6 -- Public relations. Industrial publicity
- HF5410-5417.5 -- Marketing. Distribution of products
- HF5801-6182 -- Advertising
All of the library's circulating books are located on the upper level of the library.
For additional library catalogs, including libraries in Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, consult the Additional Library Catalogs page. If you find a book in one of these catalogs that the library does not own, request the book using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Research Databases - Finding Articles
The Evelyn S. Field Library has access to thousands of periodicals. (Periodicals can be magazines, scholarly journals, or newspapers.) Some periodicals are in the library's print (or hard copy) collection. However, the majority of periodicals are available in the Research Databases. These databases provide access to articles. This information is generally more current than material found in books.
Search for periodical articles on Public Relations using the databases listed below. They can be accessed from the Library Database Page. (If you are using these databases from an off-campus location, you will be asked to identify yourself by logging in with your Username and Password. This is the same login you use on campus. The Research Databases are available only to registered RVCC students.)
- Business Source Premier
Business Source Premier provides full text for more than 2,300 journals, including full text for more than 1,100 peer-reviewed titles. It is updated daily.
After finding an article on your research topic, the database will either provide a citation and summary of the article, or it will provide the full-text (the complete article). If you are only given a citation and summary of the article, you can check the Periodical Locator to determine if the periodical you are looking for is available in another database. (The Periodical Locator is an alphabetical list of all the journals the library has access to. Feel free to talk with a librarian for assistance.) If the article is not available in any of the library's research databases, request the article using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
If, for your assignment, you are required to have sources from scholarly journals, use the Identifying Scholarly Articles guide to help you determine if your source is a magazine article or a scholarly article.
- Public Relations Society of America
- Public Relations Students Society of America
- Annual Report Service
- Hunterdon County
- Somerset County
- State and County Quick Facts/US Census
- State of New Jersey
- U.S.Census Bureau
- Call or visit the Reference Desk to speak to one of the librarians. The Reference Desk is located on the main floor of the library. The phone number is 908-526-1200 x8350.
- Email your question to one of the librarians using the Ask-A-Librarian Service.
- For further information about this guide, please contact Julie Moscinski
Last Updated - 01 December 2007