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MCST 488: Capstone Seminar

Getting Help

This research guide will provide you with helpful tips and library information you can leverage for your MCST capstone projects. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to get help.

Jackie Beckey, your MCST Librarian, is available to meet with you to discuss your capstone projects. Schedule a meeting to get research help at any point during the semester.

General Search Tips

  • Check out the MCST Research Guide for a list of subject specific databases related to media studies and cultural studies, advanced search tips, recommended journals, and much more.
  • Use the A-Z database list to browse all library databases or limit to different database types, such as primary sources, newspapers, video, etc.
  • Mine references: Look at the sources that are cited in any source you find valuable.
  • Citation databases enable you to discover sources that cite a source you've already discovered, very useful for following a conversation forward in time. Many research database have this functionality to some degree. The Web Of Science is especially good at this. Google Scholar also has this functionality.
  • For finding sources outside of mainstream academic literature, including international scholarship of the mainstream academic literature try searching open access databases or the Emerging Scholars section of Web of Science (found using the More Settings dropdown menu).

Interlibrary Loan

You want to collect the best information and sources for your capstone project. Interlibrary loan enables you to access  journal articles, books, and many other materials that libraries from around the world own or subscribe to. Take advantage of this! Articles usually arrive within a day. Books often arrive within a few days, although if it is an international loan that will take longer. 

Change your ILL status to "Honors/Capstone- Undergrad" in order to unlock special privileges: Go to Change User Information -> Status -> select Honors/Capstone- Undergrad in order to take advantage of the expanded privileges of requesting items from libraries all of the world and purchasing materials, such as dissertations.

  • Log into your ILLiad account and go to Change User Information -> Status -> select Honors/Capstone- Undergrad in order to take advantage of the expanded privileges of requesting items from libraries all of the world and purchasing materials, such as dissertations.

ILL Tips:

  • For books, tell us what edition you want: There is an option on the request form to let us know if you will accept a different edition or not. If only the 3rd edition will do then tell us that.
  • Request rare items early: Rare or unique items can be hard to get through interlibrary loan. Give us as much time as possible. That are some things we cannot get for you, but we will be in contact to discuss this with you.
  • Request renewals: Lending libraries frequently suspend Macalester's borrowing privileges if we have an overdue item. Return items on time or request to extend the due date in order to help us maintain good relationships with other libraries.

Interlibrary Loan Guide: See this guide for extensive information about interlibrary loan policies and procedures.


We recommend that you start by taking a look at the library's comprehensive citation guide, which will provide you with links to citation manuals and information on citation management tools.

Tips to keep in mind as a capstone student:

  • There are style manuals or guides for every citation style. Be sure to use the appropriate guide. It will help you with more obscure citation practices, such as interviews, full text within databases, data sets, and more.
  • Look at examples for citations to find similar items. Citation is more of an art form than a science, so seeing what others have done can be very helpful.
  • Do not rely solely on automated citation generators.
  • Using a system for keeping track of the references you discover, even the ones you do not end up using for your project, can save you time when organizing your ideas, writing your paper, adding textual references, and creating a bibliography. Learn more about citation management tools.
  • Understand how citations are used within your discipline. For example, in History, much of the scholarly conversation happens within the footnotes.
  • When in doubt, cite. If you have a question about whether or not something should be cited, err on the side of citing.
  • Cite the source you use. This means if you use the print version of an article, cite that. If you use the full text version within Academic Search Premier, cite that. If you use a working paper or a pre-print version, cite that. How you do this will vary from style to style.
  • You can cite sources within other sources, however the preference is to find the original for yourself and cite it directly.

Still need help? Your librarians are used to working with citation styles, guides, and manuals. Feel free to send us your questions, or set up a meeting.