Students often come in to the library to begin their research and don't know where to begin. Recently, we've had a large number of students who have been charged with writing a paper about a controversial issue, also known as a persuasion paper, or an argumentative paper. Are you one of these students and a topic hasn't jumped out at you just yet? Or maybe you have some ideas but you don't know if they'll work.
If that's the case, I suggest you go to the database called Facts on File - Issues and Controversies. To get here, start at the library homepage, then click on 'online resources a-z', choose 'f' to jump down, and then scroll down to get to the right database (if you're off-campus you'll need to enter your student ID in order to gain access). If you're just trolling for ideas, look at the right-hand column where there is a list of "Issues in the Headlines". The day I checked it, I found issues like conflict diamonds, the local food movement, and school uniforms.
If you have a few ideas of what you might like to research, but you're not sure if you're topic will work, type it in the search box and look at the results list. Simple type the main keyword (not a whole question - read more about that here). For example, you might type in gun control, same-sex marriage, or abortion. You'll then see a list of results, choose the one that sounds the best and look around on that page. You'll find what supporters of the argument say, what critics of the argument say, the history of the particular issue and a bibliography which will help you figure out where to go for more information. This content is why it's such a good place to start; you're provided with a well-rounded summary of the topic from an objective point of view.
good luck, researching!
Do you have a question for Ms. Information? Ms. Information welcomes your questions about research, libraries, and how to find all kinds of information. Submit your question to mhaller [at] roosevelt [dot] edu.