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SPCH 1321: Business Communication (Dr. Cooley)

The purpose of this research guide is to teach students in Dr. Cooley's SPCH 1321 Business Communications class how to find information for their ethical company research projects and their leadership traits research projects.

Keywords

What are your research topics?

Once Dr. Cooley has approved of your topic choice for each of these two assignments, you should create keywords for each of those specific topics. Keywords, which will be your search terms, should not be too broad or too narrow. The purpose of keywords is to induce a database to return search results that are relevant for your search.

Keywords for the Ethical Company Assignment

Remember that the purpose of keywords is to induce a database to return search results that are relevant for your search. What words are likely to appear in news articles about companies caught in unethical behavior? Perhaps:

  • scandal
  • ethical
  • misconduct

What words might appear in news articles about companies that are praised for ethical conduct? Perhaps:

  • philanthropy
  • charity
  • socially conscious

Of course, when searching about the company in question, you'd want to include the name of the company. Let's use Equifax as an example. Thus a good search string to use the in library's databases might be:

  • Equifax and (scandal or ethical or misconduct or philanthropy or charity or socially conscious)

Does that look weird? Let's break it down. Notice the placement of the word "and", the words "or", and the parentheses. This search string tells a database that article must have the word Equifax. They must also have one of the following words: scandal, ethical, misconduct, philanthropy, charity, socially conscious. But, you note, they don't have to have all of these words. This is the difference between the word "and" and the word "or".

Keywords for Your Leadership Traits Assignment

For this assignment, you must analyze the good and bad leadership traits of a particular person. Developing keywords for this assignment is a much simpler process. Select the name of your leader and the word leadership. So, for example, if you are researching Oscar Munoz, your keywords would be:

  • Oscar Munoz and leadership

Should you add the words "good" and "bad"? This may work for specific people on the list that Dr. Cooley has provided. But it's more likely that you will look at news stories about the leader's decisions and make your own judgments.

Database Searching

Database Basics

To find articles for your persuasion speeches, you will need to access the library's databases. If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest first watching this introductory video.

How to Search US Major Dailies

The next video shows you how to search US Major Dailies, which is a database of articles from several US national newspapers. I suggest using to find information for both of your assignments.

APA Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources in APA 7

This is our video that introduces APA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper.

This is our complete APA guide, which goes into more detail about citing sources and formatting correctly.

It includes our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one.

If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for APA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.

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