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It's not enough just to identify the types of information you need -
you also have to gather, read, and evaluate that information. This can be a
time-consuming process. You will need to try your searches in different
places (like the catalog and databases) and try using different search
terms, until you find the best results for your search.
Remember, you can get help finding information from any reference
librarian - stop by the reference desk, call, email, or instant message
- Books and Government Documents
- To find books and government documents in USA Libraries' collections, use SOUTHcat: USA Libraries' Catalog.
- Catalog tips and tricks:
- Keyword searches – use quotation marks to hold phrases together ("death penalty")
- Truncation – use ? after the root of a word to find all its variants (president? finds president, presidents, presidential...)
- Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "death penalty," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "Capital punishment." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)
- Revise and refine your searches.
- Watch for repeating call numbers and browse stacks in that area.
- Pay attention to the Location and Status fields. You will need this information to locate the item in the library.
- For infomation about using SOUTHcat, consult these tutorials.
- Current Controversial Topics
- CQ Researcher - A good source for finding information about contemporary social, political and economic issues. CQ Researcher includes background information about each issue. (Please logout when finished as we only have 5 simultaneous users.)
- Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center - Offers a list of popular current controversial topics. Opposing Viewpoints is a particularly good source for finding pro/con arguments.
- Points of View Reference Center (EBSCO) - Provides students with a series of controversial essays and presents multiple sides of the issue. Audience: high school through college, general public.
- Multidisciplinary Databases
- Internet Sources
- Check with your instructor
- Use advanced search options
- Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate!