English 110 – Baxton
About this Guide
This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research in English 110 with Professor Baxton.
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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.
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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
Online Reference Sources
These resources are available online and will require your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus.
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.
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.
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. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:
- Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
- Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
- Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
- Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
- Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
- Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?
For more help locating reliable information online, see the Finding Credible Web Sources research guide.