English 80 – Thibault

social issues word map

About this guide:

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

Your assignment

Research and write about a controversial topic. Find three articles to support your opinion about the topic.

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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.


Search the library catalog 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. 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


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.


Finding good websites for college research can be difficult and time-consuming. When you search the internet on your own, use the C.A.R.S. system explained below to evaluate any websites you find.


      Is the author listed?
      What are the author’s credentials?
      Is there evidence of positive peer evaluation?


      Is the date of the site current?
      Is the information complete and not too vague?
      Does the author acknowledge all views?


      Is the author fair and objective?
      Is the author concerned with the truth?


      Does the author provide support for the information?
      Are the sources listed?

Recommended Websites:

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

The 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. For additional help creating citations for websites, consult this guide on website citations from Camosun College.

Citation Tools