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Journalism 2200 - Audiences and Persuasion: Where to start

Where to start your research

Design your research strategies to help you:

  • Discover what is currently known about the COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 virus (also called a novel coronavirus) - its origin, evolution and various clinical effects.
  • Identify the various vaccine platforms and protocols; those approved by the FDA and those approaching submission for approval.
  • Recognize current barriers to mass COVID-19 vaccination; information, misinformation, disinformation, surveys.
  • Learn about strategies that have already been employed to persuade people to become vaccinated and who they targeted.
  • Find out about the audience(s) that you plan to target with your message; demographics, psychographics.
  • Learn about persuasive communication strategies and how to employ them.

Contact:  Dorothy Carner, Journalism Librarian, if you have any questions.

What do we know about COVID-19?

Look for recent primary research (new research findings in scholarly journals) and secondary research (journals with literature reviews) about COVID-19.

  • Use the Discover at MU link below to search all multi-disciplinary content owned or subscribed by the University of Missouri Libraries.  Filter by "academic peer reviewed" to focus your research on scholarly sources and date to make sure the resources are the most recent since information on this topic is still evolving.

  • Create a list of concepts to use as search terms ; combine concepts using Boolean logic: 
    • COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2  (using OR will allow you to search for both terms)
    • Put phrases in quotation - "COVID-19 vaccine" - to search for phrases
    • Truncation of terms (using * at the end of the word) like vaccin* will find vaccine, vaccination, vaccinated, etc.
    • Combine terms using AND to find articles with more than one concept
    • Use parentheses to combine concepts with AND, OR, NOT - (COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2)
      • Example:  (COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2) AND vacc* - will find articles about COVID-19 and vaccines
      • Example: (COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2) AND (vacc* OR immunization) AND (hesitant* OR fear OR barrier) - will yield articles about barriers to COVID-19 immunization
  • Use Google Scholar to conduct similar searches to expand your search strategy

Google Scholar Logo


Current Covid-19 vaccine platforms and protocols

Search Google Scholar for the latest information about COVID-19 vaccine platforms, protocols and status. Filter by date (last month), to get the latest information.

Search Example:  (COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2) vaccines platforms protocols

 Google does not require OR connectors or commas after individual search terms as licensed databases do.

Result Example:  Forni, G., & Mantovani, A. (2021). COVID-19 vaccines:  Where we stand and challenges ahead.  Cell Death & Differentiation, 1-14. (N.d).

This article brings the reader up-to-date on all types of current COVID-19 vaccines, their protocols, and stages of use.


Barriers to vaccinating for COVID-19

What are the barriers that might prevent people from receiving the the COVID-19 vaccine?  Search Discover &MU and Google Scholar for articles about these barriers.

Search Example:  (COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2) AND (vacc* OR immunization) AND (hesitant* OR fear OR barrier)

Result Example: Chou, W. Y. S. , & Budenz, A. (2020).  Considering Emotion in COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and fostering Vaccine Confidence.  Health Communication, 35(14), 1718-1722.

The Journalist's Resource (from Harvard's Shorenstein Center) created Six Tips for Covering Vaccine Hesitancy.

Current COVID-19 vaccine promotion strategies

Suggestions for promoting the COVID-19 vaccine, from the medical/healthcare community:

Search Discover &MU and Google Scholar for the latest COVID-19 promotional strategies. Filter by date (last month or last 3 months).

  • Example Search: (COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2) AND (vaccin* or immunization) AND promotion
  • Example Search:  (COVID-19 OR SARS CoV-2) AND (vaccin* or immunization) AND "promotion strategy"
    • Example Result: Volpp, K. G., Loewenstein, G., & Buttenheim, A.M. (2021).  Behaviorally Informed Strategies for a National COVID-19 Vaccine Promotion Program. JAMA, 325(2), 125-126.

The AdCouncil partners with leading health organizations to support COVID-19 vaccination education effort 

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 and Flu Public Education Campaign & Strategy

Find reliable Covid-19 vaccination research and surveys

In addition to scholarly research sources, to find the most current and reliable information and surveys about Covid-19 vaccinations are available, look to organizations with reputations for providing evidence-based and reliable information.