English 80 – Blatt

social issues word map

About this guide:

This guide provides students with suggested resources for research in English 80 with Professor Blatt. Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of this guide.

Your assignment

Write a persuasive argument essay on a topic of your choice (approved by your professor), using at least two sources.

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Print Reference Sources

Reference books provide background information on a topic. Good resources on a variety of topics are available in the Luria Library Reference section. Look for your topic in the book listed below, or ask a librarian for help finding the best reference source for your research topic.

  • Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues – R 306.0973 S528e 2011

Online Reference Sources

The library provides some reference sources online, through library databases. To access databases from off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline account information.

Books

Search the library catalog (books+) to find books in the library and ebooks available online. Ask a librarian if you need extra help finding books on your topic.

When searching for books on a topic, take a minute to brainstorm words related to your topic. For example, if you’re research is about whether Facebook is good or bad, you might search using some combination of these words:

    facebook, social media, social networking, social networks
    benefits, uses, impact, consequences
    relationships, society, interpersonal communication, social aspects
    technology, innovations, computers, computing

After brainstorming, you’re ready to search in the library catalog (books+). String a few keywords together with the word “and” as in the examples below:

    social media and consequences
    facebook and impact
    technology and social aspects

Articles

Search for articles from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals) in the following Luria Library online databases. From off campus, you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password.

If your topic has to do with a current or controversial issue, try searching for information in one of these databases:

  • CQ Researcher: Provides expert, clearly written articles on contemporary topics and controversial issues addressed in a balanced and unbiased manner.
  • Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center: Provides background information and opinions on hundreds of today’s hottest social issues.

For articles from periodicals on any topic, try these databases:

Tips and Tricks

    When searching for articles on a topic, take a minute to brainstorm words related to your topic. For example, if you’re research is about health care issues in the United States, you might search using some combination of these words:

      health care, health insurance, universal health care, medical, medicine
      national health programs, united states
      benefits, impact, consequences, social aspects, debate
      children, families, women

    After brainstorming, you’re ready to search in the databases listed above. String a few keywords together as in the examples below. Use the word “and” to separate keywords:

      health care and united states and debate
      national health programs and impact and united states
      health insurance and social aspects and women

    Use the tools in the database to help generate citations for the articles you find. Ask a librarian in person, by phone or through chat if you need help learning to use these tools.

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. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

MLA citation style is most typically used when writing papers in the liberal arts or humanities. MLA is the recommended citation style for this class.

Citation Guides

MLA Formatting and Style Guide from Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab is a great resource to help you create citations in MLA format. See the links below for further guidance citing different types of sources.

Citation Tools