ENG101/102: Controversial Issues

Use this guide to research papers and presentations on controversial issues.


New to College Research?

If you have problems logging into library databases, see: 

Library Database Searching

Library Database search Tips 1) Advanced Search AND overlaps subjects Called Boolean logic  George Boole (1815–1864) (image shows two overlapping circles) sleep AND learning  2) truncation Looks for all word endings Star is wildcard symbol  asterisk (*) - shift/8  psych* finds psychology  psychological  psychologist etc.  3) Phrase search Search two or more words together Makes search more precise Use quotation marks "community college" "New York" "United States"

Put it all together:

Here are database-friendly searches, with unnecessary words removed:

Instead of:  "What are the causes of test anxiety?"  
Use: "test anxiety" AND cause* 

Instead of:  "What's the effect of the pandemic on mental health of college students?"
Use: COVID-19 AND "mental health" AND "college students"

Instead of: "Does using social media increase anxiety among teenagers?"
Use: "social media" AND anxiety AND teen*

Database searching summary:

ENG101 Research: Database Tutorials

If you're new to searching specific databases, these tutorials may help:

Video: Library Databases vs. Google

In this class session, you'll be learning to search library databases. Why use those, when Google is more familiar to you? Watch this short video to learn more:

1) Starting Your Research

   Start Your Research Here: 

  1. The search box above finds the library's books and e-books, and does a broad, shallow meta-search across 100 library databases. 
    • Sign in with your college username/password to get best results and save searches. 
  2. Then, search specific library databases below to fill in any gaps. 

2) Fill in Gaps with Specific Databases

These reference databases offer overviews of your issue, and offers ideas to narrow your topic. 

  • Log in with your college username/password if prompted.
  • These offer e-book chapters, popular (newspaper, magazines) and scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles, and other resources.

The ProQuest Central database searches millions of articles from newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals. Use it to fill in gaps in your research.

  • It includes well-respected newspapers like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and many more. 
  • Click "Peer reviewed" to limit the search to scholarly articles.

General Databases

These databases cover a wide range of world events and topics:

Scholarly Sources

Here are links to two article searches and an example of a peer-reviewed (scholarly) article.

  • Click the "Peer-reviewed" limiter to get only scholarly articles.

This is an example of a scholarly article, found by clicking "Peer-reviewed" on the search page.

How do you know a "Scholarly Article" (also referred to as academic articles or peer-reviewed articles) when you come across one?

Articles in different fields may differ slightly. A scholarly article comparing two works of literature will lack data, graphs, and discussions of methodology. A scientific paper about a new medication SHOULD have all of these things:

   Parts of a Scholarly Article: An abstract Journal title and volume number Author(s) with degrees/certifications in their field  In-text citations or footnotes Introduction, body paragraphs, a conclusion Works cited/        references/bibliography

Video Databases

These video databases offer archived news programs, documentaries, educational series, and more. They are well-researched sources for papers, and provide MLA citations.

Reference Librarian

For More Research Ideas

Mouse over these databases for descriptions. 

Writing in the "Real World"!

The English Division at SUNY Adirondack sponsors several programs that bring writers from all genres and forms to campus to share their work with us. These visits are almost always recorded by SUNY Adirondack's IT department, and posted to the SUNY Adirondack Youtube page for you to watch any time! 

What programs will I find on the Youtube page?:

- The Writer's Project : Published writers across every genre come to read selections of their work, talk about their process, and answer audience questions

- 100,000 Poets for Change: Professional and amateur poets gather to share their work and garner hope, courage, community, and support for important causes and challenges in our society, such as the climate crisis.

- The College Lecture Series: Faculty and staff of SUNY Adirondack give 45-60 minute presentations to give the college community updates on their personal research projects.

Options for Searching the Web

Alternate search engines offer more privacy for searching the free web. 

This page describes how to do a Google Advanced Search:

Image Search Engines

Need quality images for a presentation? Try these: 

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