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MC 4386: Journalism Project: Background Research

This course guide is for Kym Fox's MC 4386 Senior Capstone course.

Reading for Background

Okay, you have a topic. Now what? Learn everything you can!

Gathering background information on a person or learning the history of an association or cultural event will help you create a better story. You will be able to ask more informed questions of your sources, understand the context of what/who you are reporting on, and be a more informed citizen. 

Depending on your topic you may need to delve deep into county records, submit an open records request, or simply read a few articles to become better informed. Give yourself time to brainstorm the different avenues you could pursue. 

This page provides specific databases that may help you in your research. Not finding what you're looking for? Search Research Databases for additional options.

Start your research

This database (located on the main library website in the large search box) combines the library catalog with several of the most commonly used databases. This search is provided by EBSCO and serves as an efficient starting place for research. If your search results are not as relevant to your topic as you would like, try utilizing specific Research Databases. 

Full Text Finder locates the full text of an article by checking other databases besides the one you are currently searching. Some students assume this means Alkek Library does not have access to an article. That is not true. If you get taken to a page without the full-text, follow the directives on the page to try a different way to access the article.


Journalist's Toolbox

News articles

Background on current and hot topics

The following databases focus on current issues and trends in various disciplines. These databases provide articles on broad topics but are helpful in gaining context on particular topics. From there, you can use what you learn to conduct further research.