English 110 – Baxton



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About this Guide

This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research in English 110 with Professor Baxton.
Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your Assignment

Write a 4-5 page paper in which you define a contemporary, relevant problem and propose a solution, using outside research to support your arguments. Your topic should be a current, controversial issue–that is, it must have some relevance to your local community, the nation, or the world. And, it must be something about which people could argue and take different positions.

Paper Writing Assistance

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Need More Help?

If you need more help with research, ask a librarian! Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help. Find our contact information on the right side of this page.Contact Us

Choosing a Topic

Reference sources are a great place to start, to get topic ideas and to get background information on your topic.

Print Reference Books

These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section.

  • Violence in America: An Encyclopedia — R 303.6 G685v
  • Encyclopedia of Racism in the United States — R 305.800973 M663e
  • Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues — R306.0973 S528e
  • American Countercultures: An Encyclopedia of Nonconformists, Alternative Lifestyles, and Radical Ideas in U.S. History — R 306.1 M678a
  • Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right — R 320.03 C283e
  • Encyclopedia of Social Problems — R 361.1 P261e
  • Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia of Trends and Controversies in the Justice System — R 364.973 F513c 2017
  • Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment — R 364.03 L665e
  • Dictionary of American History — R 973.03 A194d 2003

Online Reference Sources

These resources are available online and will require your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus.

Books

Search the library catalog (books+) for your topic. To limit to books, choose the appropriate box from the menu to the left of your search results.

Tip: If you add the phrase “social conditions” to your searches, you may have more successful results.

Articles

Use the following databases to find articles from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals). These resources will require your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus.

  • Academic Search Premier: Provides abstracts for articles from over 4,600 periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) in all subject areas.

For pro/con information on current or controversial issues, try searching one of these databases:

  • CQ Researcher: An excellent source of pro/con information, containing single-themed reports on issues in the news. Provides in-depth, unbiased coverage of both sides of controversial issues related to health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. Each 12,000-word report includes: an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources. Offers access to CQ Researcher reports dating back to 1991.
  • Opposing Viewpoints: An excellent source of pro/con information, providing opinions and other information on hundreds of today’s hottest social issues. Includes continuously updated viewpoint articles, topic overviews, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.

For newspaper articles, try searching one of these sources:

  • National Newspapers: Searches the following papers: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post.
  • Newspaper Source Plus: Provides the full text of more than 63 million full-text articles from more than 1,210 newspapers, more than 130 newswires, and nearly 50 news magazines. Newspapers include: Christian Science Monitor; The Times (UK); USA Today; and The Washington Post. Newswires include: AP (Associated Press); CNN Wire; PR Wire; UPI (United Press International); and Xinhua (China). Also provides more than 1.4 million TV & Radio News Transcripts from sources such as: ABC News; CBS News; CNBC; CNN and CNN International; FOX News; MSNBC; National Public Radio; and PBS.

See the Luria Library’s database descriptions page for a full list of library databases, or ask a librarian for the best database to use for your topic.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

For more help locating reliable information online, see the Finding Credible Web Sources research guide.