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Communication and Media

Historical Packets for Square of Care Project

street photography of urban camping

For this assignment your group will create a historical/information packet for your research area. You will need to locate ten unique, new readings about the topic.

This guide should help you begin locating these resources. 

This type of research will feel different if you're used to looking for academic articles to use in traditional research papers. For this type of investigation, you are (likely) not able to search your question and find a direct answer. Instead, read broadly and look for clues. For example, how might searching for information on Mayor Mike Johnston lead you to some interesting information? What if you dropped Denver from your search criteria and looked at the realities of migrants in the United States more broadly? Think of this research as a journey where you are open to the destination. 

Library Resources


Unfortunately, newspapers are difficult to both browse and search. They are also incredibly important resources for our democracy.The two newspapers I would start with are The Denver Post (of which we have select coverage back to 2020) and The New York Times (as of December 2023 we have complete coverage).

If there is a specific newspaper or magazine you want to search, you can use "Journal Search" to find out which of our databases include that journal. NOTE: Databases often only provide some of the content from that newspaper. It is rare that you will find a complete run.

Rod Library subscribes to a number of databases that include news sources. They all contain different runs of different news sources. One of the difficulties of reading newspapers online (versus the old fashioned way) is that it's all black text on a white screen and it's not always easy to determine what type of news you're reading. Use the filters in the database and use the details the database provides to ensure you aren't relying on opinions and commentary. 

Using Google to your advantage

Google is a vehicle to the open web. While it should not be the only tool in your toolkit. Google can be a great way to learn there are resources available, even if you cannot read the whole thing.

1. Paywalls. You may find an awesome newspaper article online, but the dreaded "Pay us" pop up keeps you from reading the entire article. Don't count it out (yet). Use the Journal Search referenced above to see if Rod Library provides database access to that publication or or reach out to your librarian for assistance. If we don't provide access, we can always try Interlibrary Loan and see if we can get a PDF of the article from another library. 

2. Not the right results. Google takes pride in offering you lots of results, but if what you need is on page 36 of their results you likely won't ever see it. Utilize Google Advanced search techniques to narrow your search. For this project, one of my favorites allows you to search a specific website or domain. For example, encampments searches the city of Denver website for any use of the word encampments, while "homeless encampments" searches any government website for the use of that phrase. 

You can also narrow your results to a specific timeframe by utilizing the Tools options.

3. Consider the language you use (and how that language may or may not match the perspective of your sources). Do individual searches or utilize OR to expand your search. For example, denver AND (homeless OR unhoused OR houseless OR unhomed) will broaden your search to include sources that use very different rhetorical strategies.