English 110 – Menendez – Natural Disasters and Sustainability

Tsunami Painting

About this guide

This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research on natural disasters and sustainability. Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your Assignment

A six to seven-page research paper on one of the following topics:

  • Topic 1: Post-Katrina New Orleans
  • Topic 2: Post-B.P. Oil Spill
  • Topic 3: Post-Tsunami Rikuzentakata
  • Topic 4: Haiti Today
  • Topic 5: Jersey Shore Today

Using one of these topics, you will identify a narrow focus for your research and develop a critical response and claim. A total of six sources are requied for this assignment. One of these sources will be the selected reading affiliated with your topic. The other five must be found through your own research:

  • At least 1 scholarly, book-length study, or articles published in a book
  • At least 1 scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article
  • At least 2 credible, periodical article
  • Only 1 credible website

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Keywords

Sometimes the words you use to describe a topic are different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. If you have trouble finding information on your topic, ask a librarian for help choosing the best keywords to use in your search.

  • Topic 1: Post-Katrina New Orleans
    • Hurricane Katrina, 2005
    • disaster relief
    • Buildings – Repair and reconstruction
    • Sustainable buildings/development
  • Topic 2: Post-B.P. Oil Spill
    • BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion & Oil Spill, 2010
    • Oil spills – Environmental aspects
    • Oil spills & wildlife
  • Topic 3: Post-Tsunami Rikuzentakata
    • Sendai earthquake, Japan, 2011
    • Japan architecture
    • disaster reconstruction
  • Topic 4: Haiti Today
    • Haiti – environmental conditions
    • Tree planting
    • Reforestation
  • Topic 5: Jersey Shore Today
    • Hurricane Sandy, 2012
    • Prevention
    • Flood control
    • Urban planning

Books

Search the library catalog for books on your topic. 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

Search for articles in the following databases. These resources will require your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus.

  • Academic Search Premier: This multi-disciplinary database provides full text for more than 4,600 journals, including full text for nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles.
  • Environmental Science/GreenFILE: A collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles covering all aspects of human impact to the environment, including content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more.

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.

Periodical Articles

You can often find periodical articles in Academic Search Premier and Environmental Science. However, if you want to focus your search on Newspaper articles specifically, you can try one of the following databases:

  • Newspaper Source PlusProvides 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.
  • National Newspapers ExpandedProvides the full text of five of the most read and widely-respected newspapers in the U.S: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post.
  • AP News Monitor CollectionProvides near real-time access to top world-wide news from Associated Press on a continuous basis. Includes AP Top News, WorldStream, Financial News, AP Online, U.S. Politics & Government and 50 State Reports. Immediate access to linked full text. The index to the full text content in AP News is held for a rolling 30-day archive, providing 30 days of news relating to your search interests.

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. 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?

Recommended Websites

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