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Introductory Library Session (19 September 2022)


Session OutlineStock image picture of a human figure with a question mark.

These are the 3 guiding questions for today's session:

  1. How do I conduct research to find the information that I need?

  2. How do I evaluate the information that I find?

  3. How do I keep track of the information that I find?











Public Domain MarkThis work (Question Mark Symbol Icon Character, by Peggy_Marco), identified by Pixabay, is free of known copyright restrictions.

Why Do We Research?

When you find and use high-quality information sources in your academic work, you are demonstrating a number of great skills (to yourself, your professors, your librarian, your peers, etc):

  • You are able to synthesize a variety of information and integrate it into your own work in an ethical and collegial way.

  • You are able to investigate the dialogue that has occurred around an area of interest and engage in that conversation through your academic work.

  • Using good, credible, accurate, and reliable sources will elevate the authority of your own work, and, as a result, you as a public relations professional!

Conducting Academic Research With LibrarySearch 

LibrarySearch is MRU Library's one-stop search interface/catalogue that brings together resources across format, time, and subject. 

We have about 1.3 million e-resources and 221,000 physical resources in our collection, and Library Search searches across those.

Things to remember when using LibrarySearch:

  1. Sign in to save searches, items, and to request materials.

  2. Use the pin icon to save books and articles. 

  3. Use the filters on the right. You will use Availability, Resource Type, and Date filters most often. Filter settings can be "locked in" so that you don't have to reapply them to every search that you make.

  4. Some items may not be available, however, you can request unavailable items using what is called interlibrary loan.

  5. When viewing an item record, scroll down to the Get It or Full-Text section to get the item.

Helpful Search Operators to Use in LibrarySearch

You can use what are called search operators to search in a way to combine or omit different terms by telling the search engine exactly what you want and this can help you save some time (and frustration!)

  • Use quotation marks to keep specific phrases together:

    • "public relations"

  • Use AND to combine search terms (Library Search automatically creates an AND when you write terms one after another, but it can be good practice to use an AND to help you understand the searches that you build):

    • "public relations" AND ethics

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms:

    • "public relations" OR "strategic communications"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol:

    • ethic* (in this example, the search ethic* will search for records that contain strings such as ethics, ethical, and ethically)

Conducting Academic Research With Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is another great way to find high quality resources.

Besides providing links to resources in MRU databases, Google Scholar links to online repositories that contain articles the author has been allowed to upload. and ResearchGate are among the repositories searched by Google Scholar.

By clicking on the Settings icon, you can select library links to show library access for up to 5 libraries (type in Mount Royal and click on save).  If you are logged into MRU library, links should automatically populate if you are running a Google search in another window. 

Google Scholar has a nifty citation chaining function. The Cited by function will forward you to indexed scholarly material that has cited a resource that you may be interested in. The Related articles link will direct you to similar articles that may have the same metadata or keywords. 

Helpful Search Operators to Use in Google Scholar

Google Scholar's Advanced Search is found by clicking the menu icon in the top left.

You can also add search operators to Google Scholar searches to build your own custom advanced searches in similar ways to LibrarySearch:

  • Use quotation marks to keep specific phrases together:

    • "public relations"

  • Avoid using AND to combine search terms with Google Scholar, as the search engine automatically creates ANDs between concepts and sometimes adding an additional AND can confuse the search syntax.

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms:

    • "public relations" OR "strategic communications"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol:

    • ethic* (in this example, the search ethic* will search for records that contain strings such as ethics, ethical, and ethically)

  • Use intitle: to limit your search to search terms only appearing in the title of a resource:

    •  intitle:"crisis communications"

  • Use filetype: to specify the type of file you would like to retrieve in your results:

    • filetype:pdf

  • Use site: to limit your search to specific web domains:



  • Use source: to limit your search to results from a specific publication:

    • source:public relations review

  • Combine operators to power search!

    • intitle:"public relations" ethic* source:public relations review

Evaluating Information

It is good to find lots of search results, but, in order to use information skilfully, you need to know how to evaluate that information to determine whether a specific resource is appropriate to use in a specific use case (i.e. for a specific assignment).

The phrase "evaluating information" actually stands in for a wide range of judgments that we make about information in many different contexts, whether those judgments are about relevance, timeliness, quality, etc.

Librarians have developed several different acronyms to help people remember useful criteria to use in information evaluation. One of my personal favourites is RADAR!

RADAR stands for





Reason for Creation

We can ask the following questions to help us assess each criterion:


  • Does this source fit my topic?

  • What is this source's intended audience?

    • Is that intended audience appropriate for my use case?


  • Is/are the creator(s) of this source clearly identified or known to us?

  • How important is it in this use case to trust the source's creator(s)?

    • If it is important, why should we trust the source's creator(s)?

    • Is the source's creator credentialed or an expert in their field?


  • Is the creation or publication date of this source identified or known to us?

  • Is this source too old?


  • Do this source's facts "check out"?

  • Does the source have references of its own?

Reason for Creation (take your best guess at this question using judgments from earlier criteria):

  • Why was this source made?

  • Was this source made to sell a product or service, to inform/educate, to entertain, etc?

Information Evaluation Activity

In the information evaluation activity below, please examine each source that I have linked to (click LINK) and try to determine whether this source would be a good source to use for an essay assignment in Public Relations.

Would the source in question be a good choice to use in completing a Public Relations essay assignment for class?

Information Evaluation Activity - Question #1
Yes!: 63 votes (95.45%)
No!: 3 votes (4.55%)
I don't know!: 0 votes (0%)
LINK: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 66
Information Evaluation Activity - Question #2
Yes!: 55 votes (80.88%)
No!: 11 votes (16.18%)
I don't know!: 2 votes (2.94%)
LINK: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 68
Information Evaluation Activity - Question #3
Yes!: 14 votes (20.29%)
No!: 51 votes (73.91%)
I don't know!: 4 votes (5.8%)
LINK: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 69
Information Evaluation Activity - Question #4
Yes!: 61 votes (93.85%)
No!: 1 votes (1.54%)
I don't know!: 3 votes (4.62%)
LINK: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 65

Keeping Track of Your Information

Half the battle when conducting scholarly research is keeping information about your source(s) organized so that, when it comes time to use that information and cite it in an assignment, you aren't scrambling to find details about a resource that you used a long time ago!

As mentioned earlier, if you are logged into MRU Library's LibrarySearch, you can save items to your favourites using the pin feature. This can be helpful to use when you are doing exploratory or initial research in the library.

Another great feature of LibrarySearch is its permalinking tool. When you are viewing a record for a resource in LibrarySearch, scroll down to the Tools section of the record. If you click the Permalink button, you will generate a stable link that you can use to get back to that specific record.

Also within the tools menu, you can email the specific record to yourself by hitting the Email button, and also generate a quick citation to the resource using the Cite it button. It is always best to double check the information provided through the Cite it button to see if it is accurate before using it in a citation.

Why Do We Cite?

  1. To credit other thinkers’ ideas where credit is due.

    • (Self-interested side of this: it protects us from charges of plagiarism!)

  2. To support our own ideas and claims.

  3. To establish our own credibility and authority as a thinker, writer, speaker, professional, etc.

  4. To allow interested readers to identify and retrieve other thinkers’ ideas that we have used in order to explore them more.

Citation Help

  • Cite Sources: Learn the correct way to cite sources by using these guides, tutorials, and videos.

  • Academic Success Workshops: APA: An Introduction and APA 2: An Online Escape Room. Academic Success Workshops are 75 minutes long and are offered both in-person and online. Registration is required.

  • Appointments: Personalized online or in-person 30-minute appointments with a Learning Strategist at Student Learning Services located on the 2nd floor of the Riddell Library & Learning Centre.

Public Relations Issues Analysis Assignment (7 November 2022)


Session OutlineStock image picture of a human figure with a question mark.

These are the 3 guiding questions for today's session:

  1. How do I search the Canadian Public Relations Society collection and the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) to find case studies?

  2. How do research and track PR efforts across media?

  3. How do I properly cite the case studies and information sources that I find?











Public Domain MarkThis work (Question Mark Symbol Icon Character, by Peggy_Marco), identified by Pixabay, is free of known copyright restrictions.

Assignment Overview

  • Working in teams of five or six (assigned by your instructor), you will explore a current hot topic/issue addressed in a Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) or World Advertising Research Center (WARC) case study and compare it to a similar issue addressed in an ongoing Canadian PR effort.

  • Complete the Public Relations Issue Analysis Worksheet for your 2 examples: your CPRS/WARC case study and your Canadian PR effort that treats a similar issue.

  • Using the ideas that you have generated as part of the Public Relations Issue Analysis Worksheet, write a 10-15 page report and develop a 10-15 minute team presentation that summarizes your report.

CPRS Collection

The CPRS Collection contains materials submitted for accreditation and winners of CPRS awards. It essentially serves as a library of best practices for public relations functions.

CPRS features more local and Canadian content, but it is not as current and can be more difficult to search because our interface does not search the full-text content of CPRS documents.

CPRS documents are sometimes available in hardcopy at MRU Library, sometimes in digital PDF format, and, occasionally, in both formats. Look under the "View it," "Get it," and/or "Access options" sections of the record to see if MRU Library has digitized the document.

World Advertising Research Center (WARC)

WARC provides articles on advertising, marketing, brands and campaigns. It includes case studies, marketing intelligence, best practice guides, consumer insights, industry trends, news, data and forecasts, trends in TV viewing, newspapers and other media, economic and demographic data, profiles of major brands and more.

WARC has more limited Canadian content, but it has a more powerful search interface and helpful case finder feature. It also searches the full-text content of its documents.

Citation Examples

CPRS documents:

Author(s). (Year). Title of work. Description. URL (if applicable)
If using a print document:
Tisch, D. (2012). Ground breaking launch for Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. Work sample submitted for award by the Canadian Public Relations Society.
If using an online document:
Noble, J. (2016). Know your snow zone. Work sample submitted for accreditation by the Canadian Public Relations Society.


Case studies:
Title of case study [Case study]. (Year). WARC. URL
Land O'Lakes: Challenging perceptions to change the future of food [Case study]. (2019). WARC.
Other WARC materials with identified authors:
Author(s). (Year). Title of article. WARC. URL
Cook, V. (2015). Culture vulture, Luxury edition 05. WARC.

Social Media:

Posts, Tweets, Status Updates, Pages & Forums


CDC [@CDCgov]. (2020, June 11). Scientists do not know if having antibodies to the virus that causes #COVID19 can protect someone from getting infected again [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

Gates, B. [@BillGates]. (2013, February 26). #Polio is 99% eradicated. Join me & @FCBarcelona as we work to finish the job and #EndPolio. VIDEO: [Video attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

Obama, B. [@BarackObama]. (2022, November 2). You’ve only got six days left to vote in the midterms – and while I know you’ve heard this a million [Tweet]. Twitter.

Facebook Post

Gaiman, N. (2012, February 29). Please celebrate Leap Year Day in the traditional manner by taking a writer out for dinner. It’s been four years [Status update]. Facebook.

Online forum Post

FrelandsArmy (2020, August 21). Looking for somewhere to camp/sleep in car for a night in Calgary [Online forum post]. Reddit.

Reader comments

YouTube Comment

49metal. (2016). Re: Are you dating a psychopath? [Video file]. Youtube.

Online Forum Comment

Primary_Lettuce3117. (2022, November 6) Re: Calgary teen’s recovery a slow journey after hit and run on problematic stretch of road - Calgary [Online forum post]. Reddit.

Images & Photos

Image/Photo with Caption


National Geographic. (2012, November 20). A supertelephoto lens allowed Colleen Pinski to capture this image of an annual solar eclipse. See more top shots: [Photograph]. Facebook.


Trudeau, J. [@justinpjtrudeau]. (2018, April 8).  A wonderful conversation with the Queen ahead of #CHOGM18 today. It’s always a privilege to discuss the state of the world, and benefit from her wisdom and insight [Photograph]. Instagram.

Image/Photo without Caption

U.S. Census Bureau. (2012, October 10). [Pathways after a bachelor’s degree in psychology: Educational attainment, common occupations, and synthetic work-life earnings and estimates] [Infographic]. Facebook.

Library Research Basics


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