English 110 – S. Starkey – Social Issue
About this guide
This guide provides students with recommended resources for Research Papers 2 and 3. Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.
Research papers on a social issue (local, national, or global) of your choice.
The short paper, 4 pages, defines the social problem and its causes, as well as begins to explore its consequences. The expanded paper, 7-8 pages, adds more on consequences and addresses possible responses or solutions.
The topic should be one that really interests you, one that allows you to draw upon a range of sources, and one that can be explored in a paper of just 7 to 8 pages in length. Also, you will need to develop an argument or interpretation rather than simply present information from your sources.
Paper Writing Assistance
Need more help?
If you need more help with research, ask a librarian! Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, email, or chat for more help. Find our contact information on the right side of this page.
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.
- The official guide to American attitudes: who thinks what about the issues that shape our lives R 303.380973 M682o
- Violence in America : an encyclopedia R 303.6 G685v
- Protest, power, and change : an encyclopedia of nonviolent action from ACT-UP to women’s suffrage R 303.61 P888p
- Encyclopedia of racism in the United States R 305.800973 M663e
- Encyclopedia of social issues R 306.0973 R 845e
- Encyclopedia of contemporary American social issues R306.0973 S528e
- Social history of the United States 306.0973 W186e
- American countercultures : an encyclopedia of nonconformists, alternative lifestyles, and radical ideas in U.S. history R 306.1 M678a
- Encyclopedia of Politics R 320.03 C283e
- Encyclopedia of social problems R 361.1 P261e
- Encyclopedia of crime and punishment R 364.03 L665e
- Encyclopedia of gangs R 364.1066 K82e
- Dictionary of American history R 973.03 A194d 2003
Electronic Reference Sources
These resources are available online. If you access these 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.
Finding books on your subject
Search the library catalog for books you can check out on your topic.
If you add the phrase “Social Conditions” to your searches, you will have more successful results.
If you search for your author by SUBJECT BROWSE in the library catalog, you will have more successful results.
Find articles from periodical databases:
Search your topic in:
Search for current event articles in this database of one periodical title:
Search for newspaper articles in:
Other databases you can search within:
For a full list of library databases click here.
The library recommends these databases for more resources, including articles, broadcast, reference books:
Explore a podcast:
Explore your topic in a TEDTalk:
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.