English 110 – Oropeza

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, Alabama

About this guide:

Students will find recommended print and electronic sources for students to conduct research exploring the development of a human rights issue or organization. Follow the tabs above to find help, specific tools, and searching techniques.

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Choose a Topic

These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section and provide an excellent starting point for your research, including choosing a topic.

You can search for people, issues, countries, documents, movements, and controversies.

  • Basic Documents on Human Rights – R 323.4 B885b
  • Encyclopedia of Human Rights – R 323.4 F735e
  • Encyclopedia of Human Rights – R 323.4 L425e


Search the library catalog for books you can check out 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. To find the best articles for this class, use the databases listed in the “Articles” section of this guide.

Hints when searching for books:

If you use quotation marks around phrases, your search will be more specific, such as “women and microfinance.”

Not finding any books?

Consider broader topics, and redo your search:

  • human rights
  • international organizations
  • nongovernmental organizations
  • development
  • developing countries

Interlibrary Loan

If you allow yourself time, and if the Luria Library does not have the book (or an article) you need, we can borrow it through Interlibrary loan from another library. Interlibrary loan is a free service for students. Use the online Interlibrary Loan Request Form to request your items. Be sure to request loans early in the research process as loans can take three to ten days.


Search your topic in this extensive periodical database:

Academic Search Premier Provides abstracts for articles from nearly 13,200 periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) in all subject areas, and full text articles from nearly 8,750 periodicals, including more than 7,550 peer-reviewed journals. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals. Full text PDF content dates back as far as 1887.

Search for current events in:

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.

Search for newspaper articles in:

Newspapers Several databases with searchable full-text versions of many of the largest papers You might choose the National Newspapers or, if you are focusing on one country, select the link to the International Newspapers.

Search for scholarly journal articles in:

JSTOR Contains articles from hundreds of scholarly journals covering a wide range of subjects in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Full text articles are available, from the first issue (sometimes going back over 100 years) until five years ago. Note: The Luria Library subscription includes three of JSTOR’s collections: Arts & Sciences II; Arts & Sciences III; and Life Sciences; and the following individual journals: Asian Survey; Film Quarterly; Mathematics Magazine; Nineteenth-Century Literature; and The Western Historical Quarterly.

Project MUSE Provides complete, full-text versions of scholarly journals in subject areas such as: ethnic studies; art and architecture; literature; education; film; theatre and performing arts; history; language; medicine and health; philosophy; religion; science, technology, and math; social sciences; and gender and sexuality. Contains over 525 journals, 335 of which are full text. An good source of scholarly articles for advanced literary criticism.

Highlighted Article

Pie + Design Change,” by John Edge. New York Times Magazine (Oct 10, 2010): 58-62.


A full list of library databases gives you the ranges of sources available from the library.

The library recommends the following databases for this particular course:

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.

CountryWatch Contains information about countries, including news on the latest political, economic, corporate, and environmental events as they occur, and detailed geographical, political, economic, corporate, and environmental briefings.

  • At the left side of the screen, select HUMAN RIGHTS


Finding good websites for college research can be difficult and time-consuming. Use the C.A.R.S. system to evaluate the websites you find. Below are some recommendations for finding quality websites.

Subject Directories – Topic and Research Narrowing Ideas

For topic and research narrowing ideas, check out these useful internet subject directories [they allow you to search for fewer, better quality sites]:

  • ipl2 “Information you can trust,” compiled by librarians and other educators.
  • Sweet Search Searches 35,000 Web sites evaluated and approved by research experts, librarians, and teachers. Simple way to search results from organizations such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, PBS and many university sites all at once.

Sources of Academic Websites

Specific valuable websites

  • United Nations Official page for the United Nations hosting a great deal of searchable information on current projects and issues.

Can you use Wikipedia?

Stephen Colbert does! and explains an entirely different reality: Wikiality


Podcasts can provide information on current social issues, and give you expert analysis.

How to Cite

This Citation Worksheet is a helpful way to keep track of your sources and all the elements you will need in citing them for your bibliography.

Links to MLA citation format: