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Track PR Efforts Across Media


Researching PR efforts

Search Media and Social Media

Using Online Images in your Work

Image Sources

The best way to find stock images and photographs that are easy to cite and safe to use ethically is on websites featuring Creative Commons licensed works, such as:

Wikimedia Commons

Flickr Creative Commons

Creative Commons Search

You can also use the usage rights filter on Google Image Search.

For more information on finding images you can use in your work, Consult the Copyright Guide.

Citing Images in your Assignments

Images that you refer to in your assignments must always be cited both parenthetically in text and in your reference list.

Images that you reproduce in your assignment (paper, poster, slide presentation, webpage or digital project) must also be cited in-text as a figure note. In addition to information about the image, your figure note must include a statement about copyright and usage rights. Add information about the creative commons license, public domain status, or the name of the copyright holder and copyright date, as applicable.

*Note that APA reference entries should be double spaced and should have hanging indents. (These examples do not show the correct format)


Example 1

Figure 1

 Portrait of a Woman by Raphael, 1505-1506.

Portrait of a woman by Raphael

Note. Source: (Wikimedia Commons, 2011).

Note: Some instructors may allow you to use a typical APA parenthetical in-text reference (as in Figure 1 above) under your image instead of a more formal figure note. Check your assignment requirements with your instructor.

Reference list entry:

In addition to the in-text citation, this image would also be cited in your reference list like this:

Raphael. (1505-1506). Portrait of a Woman [Drawing]. Wikimedia Commons.              _Portrait_of_a_Woman_-_WGA18948.jpg


Example 2


Figure 2

Lava the Sled Dog

Note. From Lava [Photograph], by Denali National Park and Preserve, 2013, Flickr (

CC BY 2.0 (


Note: This picture was posted under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons license, which gives permission for it to be shared and adapted as long as it is properly attributed to the creator. Read the license carefully to ensure that you are providing all of the information that the creator has asked be included in any attribution. 

Reference list entry:

Denali National Park and Preserve. (2013). Lava [Photograph]. Flickr.

Note: If the image has no title, provide a description of the image in your own words, e.g.:

Denali National Park and Preserve. (2013). Blue-eyed dog in the snow [Photograph]. Flickr.


Example 3

Figure 3 

Artist With Their Work

Note. From Philadelphia Museum of Art [@philamuseum] [Photograph], 2019, Instagram ( 


Note: In the case of social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. it is not always possible to tell who has copyright over the image (because images are often uploaded by people other than the creator or copyright holder). If you cannot find copyright or attribution information about your image, simply leave it out of your figure note, as above.

Reference list entry:

Philadelphia Museum of Art [@philamuseum]. (2019, December 3). “It’s always wonderful to walk in and see my work in a collection where it’s loved, and where people are” [Photograph]. Instagram.

  • In this case, there is no title, so we use the first part of the post’s description. 


Note about Stock images and clip art

(e.g. images from iStock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Flickr, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or graphic design software like Canva.)

  • It is important to look at the license terms of the source you are using. If the license terms indicate that attribution is required, then you should include a citation in your APA paper. 
  • Clip art (icons) from Microsoft programs generally does not need to be cited, BUT you should assess each image you want to use. Some images from PPT and Word are actually pulled from the Web, and you should locate and cite the original image if possible. You can find the original source using the URL, or using Google Reverse Image Search.
  • Anything taken from the “insert images” section in PowerPoint is likely not that program’s clip art and needs to be cited.
Stock image citations

Figure note: 

Note. Source: (BananaStock, n.d.)

Reference List:

BananaStock. (n.d.). Group of children [Photograph]. Canva.



General note about reusing and reproducing images:

Be an ethical PR practitioner! Always be aware of what sources you are using in presentations and documents. Do you know where your images, videos, and texts came from, who created them, and if you have permission to use them? Do you know how to cite sources and give credit to the creators?

Note that when reusing images for academic work you don’t need permission from the copyright holder if the image will be used in class or shared via your course Blackboard site. However, if you post images on the Web, or reproduce them for a broader audience (e.g. on a corporate newsletter, pamphlets, posters, social media, or other non-academic purposes) you have to consider the copyright implications of doing so and you may have to seek permission. Consult the Copyright Guide for more information.

See these short videos for more examples and detailed guidance on citing online images:
For general guidance on APA style and citing other types of sources, see MRU's citation resources.

What is the CPRS Collection?

The CPRS Collection is a great resource for MRU students. It contains materials submitted for accreditation and winners of CPRS awards - essentially a library of best practices for public relations functions.  We want you to know about them early on because you'll be using them throughout your program.

In this assignment, they serve as benchmarks to help you assess current communication work related by theme, activity, audience or purpose. 

Explore the CPRS collection by clicking on the CPRS tab in the menu above.

Library Research Basics

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