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Public Relations and Media Management (Harrisburg)

Key Resources

Relevant Subject Guides

Interdisciplinary Search Tools

Both LionSearch and Google scholar allow you to search across a wide range of disciplines. Since information systems topics can be broad and influenced by many forces, LionSearch or Google Scholar can be good starting points. LionSearch allows you to refine you search in ways not possible in Google Scholar, and it will connect you to Penn State full text resources in many formats. Google Scholar can connect you to full text journal articles available through the University Libraries by adding Penn State University under Settings > Library Links on the Google Scholar page.

These sources will help you locate both books and journal articles. LionSearch will also recommend subject databases to allow you to explore your subject in more depth.

Please be aware these databases DO NOT search business and industry resources like Hoover's or IBISWorld, but search for articles ONLY.

Citation Resources

Citation Managers

A citation manager is a software that will assist you in creating and managing citations for the articles you use in your research. Some of the software will also store the articles you find.

You may want to consider using a citation manager as you conduct your research to save the resources you find and quickly access and cite them as you write your assignments. 

View the various guides for each manager from the links below. 

Validating Sources from the Open Web

Often we seek information that confirms our own thoughts and feelings towards a topic. This is not research. Research and learning comes from finding sources that speak to the truth of a topic, no matter how much it hurts, or does not fit with your current ideas and beliefs.

Only by keeping personal biases in check can you begin to vet information for credibility. These steps will help you find sources that are credible and reliable in your research process. 

IF I APPLY is a method for identifying bias, both personal and external, and then using this as a baseline for determining the credibility of a resource. Information is neither good nor bad. Resources, and information, have a time and place when they will be useful for a specific topic or need.  

IF I APPLY is not meant to be used as a checklist, but rather as a tool to facilitate and guide critical thinking.

The Personal Steps: IF I

Identify emotions attached to the topic.

Find unbiased reference sources that will provide a proper and informative overview of the topic.

Intellectual courage is needed to seek authoritative voices on the topic that may fall outside your comfort zone or thesis. 

The Source Steps: APPLY

Authority established.

  • Does the author have education, experience, and expertise in the field?

Purpose/Point of view.

  • Does the author have an agenda beyond education or information?


  • Does the publisher have an agenda?

List of sources (bibliography).

  • Is the evidence reliable, sensible, and accessible?

Year of publication.

  • Does the date of publication affect the information?