English 110 – Meisel – Argument Essay
About this Guide
This guide provides students with suggested sources for their research in English 110 with Professor Meisel.
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An eight-page researched argument essay on a current, controversial, environmental or social issue, using at least five reputable sources (including at least one peer-reviewed journal article).
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Choosing a Topic
The following resources will help assist with picking a topic, narrowing a topic, and finding keywords and subject headings. 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 2011
- American Countercultures: An Encyclopedia of Nonconformists, Alternative Lifestyles, and Radical Ideas in U.S. History R 306.1 M678a 2009
- Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right R 320.03 C283e
- Encyclopedia of Social Problems R 361.1 P261e
- Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment R 364.03 L665e
Electronic Reference Sources
This resources is available online. If you access this resource from off campus, you will be prompted to enter your Pipeline username and password.
- Credo Reference: Contains the full text of nearly 600 encyclopedias, dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, and other reference books.
Tutorial – Search Keywords
Watch the video below for a short tutorial on keywords.
Search the library catalog (books+) for print and online books. Your search results will include articles as well. Limit to books by choosing the appropriate box from the menu to the left of the results.
Articles from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and academic journals) often provide the most current information on a topic. Journal articles are more scholarly and tend to focus on narrow topics, while magazine articles tend to be shorter and more general. Newspaper articles are the most current of the three periodical sources and another good source of information.
To find articles on your topic, use one of the online databases listed below. To access databases from off campus you will need to log-in with your pipeline account number and password.
This general database is a good place to start:
- Academic Search Complete: Provides articles from periodicals in all subject areas, including thousands of peer-reviewed journals.
These databases provide pro/con information on current and controversial topics:
- CQ Researcher: Contains single-themed reports with unbiased coverage of controversial issues.
- Opposing Viewpoints: Provides opinions and other information on hundreds of social issues.
These pages provide links to databases in specific subject areas:
- Health Databases: Try one of these databases if your topic is related to health or nutrition.
- Newspaper Databases: Use one of these databases to find full-text articles from regional, national, and international newspapers.
- Science Databases: Try one of these databases if your topic is related to the science of food.
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.