Skip to Main Content

York College of Pennsylvania, Schmidt Library

FYS 100 - Be the Change - Slaysman, Wright, and Trippett

This guide will help you research chapters two and three of your Signature Story assignment.

Organization Research Overview

When researching a local organization, typically we won't find a lot of books or journal articles about them. Instead, we need to rely on news sources to provide information on local topics.

News and Trustworthiness

Searching for local news will take us once again back to the general internet most of the time. However, this prevents a problem: almost all news websites will fail our CRAAP Test. Why?

  • News websites are typically ".com" sites, which aren't as regulated as ".gov" or ".edu" sites. Anyone can create them.
  • News tends to rely a lot on advertisements in order to make money.
  • News content is typically written by journalists rather than experts.

This doesn't mean that no news is trustworthy, but we need different criteria.

Reputation and Recognition

A big part of identifying trustworthy news sources is to use ones with recognizable names and established reputations for quality reporting.

On a national level, this would be organizations like New York Times, Wallstreet Journal, USA Today, ect.

Local newspapers may be less recognizable depending on how familiar you are with the area but are still reliable sources of local news. Here in York those newspapers would be York Daily Record, York Dispatch, and some of the local news channels listed below.

An easy short-cut for identifying news organizations with a solid reputation is to search for news in one of the library databases. News sources found here are specifically curated by librarians, professors, and experts based on their reliability for trustworthy news.

Read Around to Minimize Bias

Assessing reputation and reliability can be difficult, and even if a source is reliable, the author or news organization may have a particular bias towards the topics they write. They may emphasize certain facts while minimizing others in order to influence the reader to feel a certain way about the topic.

There is no way to eliminate bias, and there are no truly unbiased sources. So, the best way to counter the effects of bias in what we read is to read more from different sources. Different journalists and organizations will often discuss a topic differently, but the core similarities between them should be the facts we want to focus on as the truth.

There are tools to help read articles with different perspectives:

However, that is not always possible with local news -especially in locations with only one newspaper or news organization. Fortunately, York has several news organizations that cover our local area. Whenever possible, search for information about your topic in as many as possible.

Local News in Library Databases

If you hit a paywall while looking for articles on a local news website, try looking for the article in one of our databases.

If you still can't find it, talk to a librarian to help.

Library Databases

If you are still unable to locate any articles on your organization, it may be a good idea to widen your search using the library's main search tool. However, when we begin looking at deeper pools of sources like this, we need to be more specific in how we describe our topic to the search.


You will usually need at least two keywords to find articles related to a local organization.

Keyword Chart

Organization Advantage/Disadvantage
  • Leg Up Farms
  • United Way
  • Appell Center for the Performing Arts
  • York
  • Pennsylvania
  • York City
  • York Township
  • York County

Do NOT use keywords like "make a difference", "benefit" or "help" as keywords. Use more specific language in order to find articles about your organization's work.


  • Full Text Online: Ensures that all of your results can be read here and now.
  • Newspaper Articles: This is where experts publish their research findings.
  • Last 5 Years: Limits your results to the recent past in order to ensure that information is up to date. You can adjust this as needed.

York College of Pennsylvania, 441 Country Club Road York, PA 17403-3651 (717) 846-7788 Copyright © 2018-