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PUA 403: Risk Management in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors (Word)

Library Module for PUA 403

Subject Guide

Susie Skarl, Urban Affairs Librarian's picture
Susie Skarl, Urban Affairs Librarian
UNLV Libraries
Lied Library
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Box 457014
Las Vegas, NV 89154-7014

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PUA 403 Library Module


This module was developed to introduce you to the wide range of information available to you as a UNLV student. Please feel free to contact Susie Skarl if you have any questions or want help researching a topic.

Your Librarian

Susie Skarl
Urban Affairs Librarian
Susie Skarl
(702) 895-2141

Getting Started

Many resources from the University Libraries are only available to students, faculty and staff. The following links provide you with more information on setting up library accounts and accessing resources from off campus. If you already have your accounts set up, feel free to move to the next section of the module. Links outside the module will open in new windows.

Next: Searching for your topic


Finding Full-Text of Journal Articles

Finding Full-text of Journal Articles

Use the GetTextSFXbutton button to locate full-text

Many times you can link directly to full-text articles within a database. Click on any links that say HTML full-text or PDF full-text to bring up the article.

If you do not see a full-text option, but see a GetTextSFXbutton button, click on it to try and locate the full-text of the item.

Most of the UNLV databases participate in the GetTextSFXbutton(officially known as the “SFX” service). SFX links the resources of participating databases together. So, if one database does not provide the full-text of an article, the GetTextSFXbutton button will display a list in a new window of other UNLV databases that may provide full-text.

Please note that inclusion of the GetTextSFXbutton button does not mean that full-text is available; it simply means the database participates in the service.

Find out if the UNLV University Libraries Subscribes to a Journal

The University Libraries do not have subscriptions to all of the journals you may discover citations for. Also, subscriptions to a title may be in only one format (i.e. print or only electronic).

The next section of the module will explain how to find out if full-text is available at the University Libraries.

It is possible to request access to articles the library does not own, but it may take a little time and effort. The Borrowing Materials the Library Does Not Own section of the module will explain how Document Delivery Services can be used to obtain items the library does not own.

Finding Full-Text of Journal Articles, Pt. 2

Find out if the UNLV University Libraries Subscribes to a Journal

If you have a citation for an article, you can determine whether or not the UNLV Libraries has a print or electronic subscription to the journal and whether or not that subscription was active at the time the article was published.

For example, to find the following:

Improving Performance, One Nonprofit at a Time. By: Connor, Joseph A.; Kadel-Taras, Stephanie. Nonprofit World, Jul/Aug2000, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p38-39

  1. Visit the UNLV University Libraries home page(
  2. Click on the Journals tab.
  3. Enter the name of the journal in the search box as seen below:

Your results will look like this:

Journal samples

Note that both the first and second links under the title point to the Libraries online subscriptions. For this particular title, the Libraries do not own a print subscription.

In our example, we are looking for the article Improving Performance, One Nonprofit at a Time, which was published in 2000. We could click on either the link to “Business Source Premier” or the link to “ABI/INFORM Global” to find more than 20 years of issues of the journal, including the year we need.

Using the volume (18) and issue (4) listed in our citation, we can click through to the table of contents for the correct journal issue and find the article online.


Citing Your Sources

Citing Your Sources

Bibliographies and Works Cited Pages

You need to give credit to sources you use. For this course the American Psychological Association's (APA) Style Manual will be followed for formatting your citations.

See Bibliographies and works cited pages: tools & guides for more information.

See the Plagiarism page for more ideas on how to avoid plagiarism

Managing Your Citations with RefWorks

What is RefWorks?
RefWorks is a web-based bibliographic software package that helps you to organize and cite your sources. It enables you to:

  • Organize your research
  • Create a bibliography in a variety of citation styles ( including APA)
  • Import references from many data sources
  • Create bibliographies in different document formats (Word, RTF, HTML, etc.)
  • Include citations while you write your paper
  • There is no software to download and update and you can access your personal account from any computer connected to the Internet

For more information and a RefWorks tutorial see the UNLV Libraries RefWorks page

Your Topic

Choosing Your Topic

When choosing a topic make sure the question you are addressing is broad enough that it can be answered with available materials, but narrow enough that you won't be overwhelmed by too much information

It can be helpful to address the following questions when developing your topic:

  • Why?- Why is this topic important? Why are you interested in researching this topic?
  • When?- Is there a certain time frame when this topic became important or experienced change? Do you want to research the current or historical view of this topic?
  • Who?- What groups or individual people were involved? Who does this topic affect?
  • How?- What is the relationship between the different aspects of this topic? How does this topic affect you and others?
  • Where?- Does this topic fit into a local, regional, or global scheme? Is there a particular physical environment for this topic?

Using Keywords for Searching

The Library Catalog and databases allow you to search for your topic using keywords. However, unlike some online search engines, they require you to set up your search in a specific way. These tips will help you create effective search strategies:

  • Avoid entering sentences or questions into the search box
  • Pick out only the main keywords from your topic to enter into the search box
  • Unlike search engines which allow you to just put all your search terms on one line, databases use Boolean searching (and , or, and not) to connect your key words together:
    1. AND – will combine two separate concepts (crisis AND leadership).  It narrows your search because both terms have to appear in the article you are searching for.
    2. OR –searches for two words that mean basically the same thing (crisis OR emergency).  This will make your search broader.
    3. NOT- This will make your search smaller.  Use it when you are searching for a word that can mean two very different things (China = country, china = dishes).  China NOT plates will remove any articles that refer to plates.  “Not” helps to get rid of the articles that don’t have anything to do with your topic.
    4. You can use "quotations marks" or (parenthesis) to keep phrases together.
  • Remember that books will be broader so try and think of the broad aspects of your topic to enter as keywords.
  • Articles will be more narrowly focused so enter keywords that are more specific when searching databases.
  • Think of more than one way to say something and remember to use the jargon specific to your discipline. People use different terms to call things and if you aren't using the same words as most people in your field, your searches will not find the majority of articles on your subject.

The next section of the module will show you examples of how to set up your search.

Sample Searches

First decide what topic you will be writing about.

  • Example Topic 1: Compare risk communication techniques in public versus private organizations.
  • Example Topic 2: Investigate risk communication strategies used by the hospitality industry.

Think about the main keywords that represent the most important concepts that are included in your topic statement.

  • Main Keywords Topic 1: risk communication, public organizations, private sector
  • Main Keywords Topic 2: risk communication, hospitality industry

Next think about other words similar to your keywords. There is no perfect search. Be prepared to try different combinations of words to find the most appropriate articles and books for your research.

  • More Keywords Topic 1: risk communication, crisis communication, emergency communication, crisis management, private sector, public sector, government, private organizations, government
  • More Keywords Topic 2: risk communication, crisis communication, crisis management, hospitality industry, hotel, tourism

After you have keywords combine them with Boolean expressions (AND, OR, NOT) to create your searches. The Boolean connectors are bolded in the examples below.

  • Sample Searches Topic 1:
    • "risk communication" and "private organizations"
    • "crisis communication" and "public sector"
    • ("risk communication" or crisis management) and ("public sector" or government)
  • Sample Searches Topic 2:
    • "risk communication" and "hospitality industry"
    • "crisis communication" and "tourism"
    • ("risk communication" or "crisis communication") and ("hospitality") or ("hotel")

Other tips:

  • “Words in quotes” will be searched as phrases
  • Words in (parenthesis) will change the order of the search – think algebra!
  • Truncation symbols can help you search for multiple forms of words. Leader* (* will search for all forms of that stem word- leader, leaders, leadership, etc. The symbol varies in different databases (* $ ! ?), use the help section to find which symbol used)
  • Check your spelling- a misspelled word can lead to no results.

A Search Strategy Box can be helpful to organize your keywords.

Place your concepts in the search strategy box.  Main keywords/phrases go across (AND), synonyms go down (OR).

risk communication


public organizations


private sector






crisis communication


 public sector


 private organizations






crisis management





After you have the grid filled out you can use these terms and combinations to create your searches.  Use AND, OR, and NOT (Boolean searching) to connect your search terms.  

If you aren’t getting good results change your search strategy or your keywords.

Expect to run your search more than once to get the best results.

Breaking up concepts can also help you with your search. You may not find an article with information on conflict resolution in both the private sector and in public organizations, but you might find several articles on conflict resolution in either public organizations or the private sector. Once you have these articles on the two different aspects of conflict resolution, you can combine the information together in your own research.

The next section of the module will talk about finding articles in databases. Try your search in more than one database to improve the number of articles you retrieve.

Still stumped?

Finding one good article can lead you to others. Check out the bibliography or works cited page to see what else has been written on the topic.

Ask your professor or your librarian for other search terms that might lead you to better information.

If you keep putting in "risk communication", you will keep get articles about that term. By switching to the term "risk evaluation", you will find a whole new set of books or articles. Don't get stuck using just one search term.

Using Databases to Find Journal Articles

Using Databases to Find Journal Articles

What is a database?

Once you have figured out your topic, you need to be able to search for articles, books, and other resources. A database, sometimes called an index, is a searchable collection of articles, book chapters, and/ or primary sources.

Use the UNLV University Libraries extensive selection of research databases in order to find articles, book chapters, and/or other materials about your topic.

Database Instructions

  1. Visit the UNLV University Libraries home page (
  2. Click on the Articles & Databases tab
  3. Select the database you wish to search by locating it in the alphabetic list and clicking on the database title
  4. Use some of the tips from the searching section of the module to construct your search in the database.

Some databases are subject-specific. Below are some of the most useful databases to assist you in locating articles on leadership and organizational theory in the context of emergency management.

Take the Finding Articles Tutorial for more information on how to use a database.


PAIS International
From the Public Affairs Information Service, this database provides access to the literature of public policy, social policy, and the social sciences in general. It includes close to half a million records from journals, books, conference proceedings, research and government reports, and directories.

Business Source Premier full text
Business Source Premier contains thousands of full-text scholarly journals and business periodicals covering management, economics, finance, accounting, international business, and much more. This database contains complete articles from the world's top business journals and is particularly strong in both management and marketing

Academic Search Premier full text
Academic Search Premier is a searchable collection of articles published in scholarly journals and popular magazines covering every academic discipline. This excellent one-stop resource lets you search citations and summaries by keyword and then instantly retrieve the full text of articles from over 4700 journals online.

ABI/INFORM full text
The ABI/INFORM database offers searchable full text of more than 1800 of the leading business and management journals in North America and the world from 1987 forward.

Locating Full-text Articles

Many databases have the full-text of articles available to print out or save to a disk. Even if full-text is not available in the database you are searching, it may be available elsewhere in the library. The next section of the module includes tips on how to find the full-text of articles.

Finding Books

Finding Books

The UNLV Library Catalog can be used to search for any item the library has access to, such as books, videos, DVDs, or government publications. A tutorial is available to show you how to find books at the University Libraries.

Book Searchd

  • Use the pull down menu to search by author or title.
  • Click on the Advanced Search option for more search choices. Advanced choices include using multiple search terms or concepts and restricting the search by format, language, date, or location.
  • If you are only taking distance education classes you can request print books through Document Delivery.

Finding E-Books

UNLV Libraries now subscribe to a number of electronic book (“e-books”) collections, which allow you to read the full-text of books online. For this course, you may want to explore these two collections: ebrary and NetLibrary.

To access these two collections:

Below are brief descriptions of the two collections:

ebrary full text
Search and read the full text of more than 30,000 complete books, reports and other resources covering all academic subject areas, including business & economics, career & general education, computers, engineering & applied science, humanities, science, medicine & allied health, and social & behavioral sciences.

NetLibrary full text
Collection of over 3,000 online electronic books. The subjects covered are literature, business, sociology, geosciences, history, and more. You will be asked to set up a personal account to keep track of what books you have "checked out."


Borrowing Items the Library Does Not Own


For books are unavailable, click on the LINK+ icon to obtain them from another participating library.
Link+ Logo


What is Link+?

  • LINK+ is a union catalog of contributed holdings from participating libraries in California and Nevada.
  • Patrons from member libraries electronically request an item not available in their own library and it is delivered to them for check-out.
  • LINK+ is available to authorized patrons of the participating libraries.
  • LINK+ may be accessed directly at or while using the local catalogs of participating libraries.
  • Books may be borrowed if they are listed as "available" in the union catalog.
  • An item may arrive at the requestor's library in 2 to 4 days and will be held for up to 10 days.
  • The loan period is 21 days with one 14-day renewal.
  • There is no charge to request or borrow LINK+ materials

What About Document Delivery?

How do you get items the University Libraries does not own?

Document Delivery (sometimes known as Interlibrary Loan) can be used to borrow materials from other libraries.

Although UNLV Libraries has an outstanding collection of print and electronic materials, on occasion, you will more than likely wish to obtain a source that we do not own.

To obtain books, dissertations, articles, government publications, and/or reports that UNLV Libraries do not own, you can make a request through our Document Delivery Department.

Although delivery of materials tends to be fast, you will need to plan for a one to four week turn around time.

The Document Delivery Department uses the Illiad system to request items. First time users will need to register to use the Illiad system to request items. The username and password you create will be used in the future when you want to request items.

For more information about document delivery please view our frequently asked questions page.

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