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English 201 - V. Arnold/Shabelnik
September 29, 2008

  • Introduction

  • Rio Hondo College Library Web site - best place to start research
    See Library Web Site Virtual Tour


  • Use our library catalog - Rio WebCat - to find books  - the best place to get overviews, background information, and in-depth treatments of your topic.
    - Power Search
    - Video/DVD Search
    - Subject vs. Keyword Searching

    Searching for Controversial Topics Series Books
    Controversial Topics series
    - this page is a listing of several helpful series of books that feature the pro & con position of many "hot" topics. The "Opposing Viewpoints", and "Current Controversies" series have small essays specifically written to support a position. All of these books are available on the 2nd floor Reference Room and copies of most are available for loan on the 3rd and 4th floors.

    Series searches
    for Opposing Viewpoints, At Issue, Current Controversies
    Title searches for Taking Sides, Debatabase

    Individual topics:
    Government Bailouts
    Internet Accuracy
    Global Food Crisis
    Georgia Crisis
    Future of Reading
    Adopted children
    Child abuse
    Stem cells
    Gay couples
    Interracial adoption
    Interracial marriages
    Same-sex marriage
    Spouse abuse

    Notes about WebCat:

    The most recent books are listed first. Click on the brief citation to see full record for
    each book.

    Understanding Call Numbers

    Library Reserves
    in WebCat Click on Reserve desk
    Enter eng 201 as your search term and click on Course Number.


  • Use our online databases to find articles [off-campus access click here]

    • How to find articles in online databases -  the best places to get specific information about events or topics; can range from short and very localized reporting to substantial analyses and commentaries. Can be very current or retrospective.  

      1. SIRS
        Now offers “Research Guides” on selected topics. Good value but some sources can be a bit dated. Also look at the individual results that come up from your search.

      2. Issues & Controversies from

      3. CQ Researcher (on-campus use only)
        CQ Researcher is often the first source that librarians recommend when researchers are seeking original, comprehensive reporting and analysis on issues in the news. CQ Researcher is noted for its in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. Reports are published weekly in print and online 44 times a year by CQ Press, a division of Congressional Quarterly Inc.

        Advanced Search--Internet Accuracy
        Browse by Topic
        Browse by Date
        Issue Tracker


      4. ProQuest 

        For articles in the form of commentaries, opinions, editorials, do an Advanced Search.

        a. Fill out your topic word(s) next to the “Citation and Abstract” window.

        b. Select “Document Type” and a drop-down window will appear -> click on “Commentary” or on “Editorial.”

        c.  Click on “Search.”

        For ongoing or long-term events, use focused search terms or specify a date range

      5. Gale Virtual Reference Library e-Books **

          Search Engines

- Follow up web sites that are cited in scholarly journal articles

- In order to obtain better quality web sites on your topic, perform an Advanced Search on your search engine of choice.  Hint:  Specify the domain from which you want your results to come. For example, for topics marked with * (see chart), try this in Google:

  • HPV vaccine site:gov

  • HPV vaccine site:edu

- Google's page-rank algorithm, which ranks pages based on how many other Web pages link to them, amounts to a public "vote on credibility

- While Google "is generally accepted as being 'clean' in terms of separating paid advertisements from sponsored ones," a hidden factor that may bias results anyway is "search engine optimization," which enables corporate sites to get to the top of search results by paying fees that total in the billions of dollars annually, said British technology columnist Victor Keegan." For example, he said, typing in something like "quiet family hotel in Venice" will take the user to hotel groups or online travel sites rather than to a hotel."  (Internet Accuracy: Is information on the Web reliable? by
Marcia Clemmit, CQ Researcher, August 1, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 27)

  • Strategies for evaluating web sites

  • What about Wikipedia?

    • Criticisms:

      • entries can be written by random people or fanatics who love their subjects and may not always be accurate or balanced;

      • anyone can edit and change entries at any time;

      • some entries may not be backed up by authoritative citations;

      • different versions of a page make it difficult to track for citation purposes.

      • while Wikipedia has broad coverage, topics are idiosyncratically chosen, not picked on the basis of their importance to society at large.

    • Kudos:

      • democratic (you don’t have to have a PhD to write ‘authoritatively’ on your special subject or niche topic);

      • strives for an NPOV (neutral point of view);

      • self-regulating (vandalism is dealt with swiftly);

      • can provide useful Bibliographies on topics (may be selective).

      • Wikipedia requires contributors to post only information that has "already been published by reliable and reputable sources," which prevents too much outlandish misinformation, at least for frequently consulted articles, wrote John Willinsky, a professor of literacy and technology at the University of British Columbia.

      • Wikipedia is also open to a wider range of information than traditional encyclopedias, because it has no space limitations and has a different notion of what constitutes "neutrality," Messner says. For example, in a listing about a private company, Wikipedia will have "lots more about any scandals that have happened," than the Encyclopaedia Britannica, where "you don't see controversial content."(Internet Accuracy: Is information on the Web reliable? by Marcia Clemmit, CQ Researcher, August 1, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 27)








Web Sites

Gay Rights

· Marriage

·  Adoption

·  Health benefits


“Other Libraries” from Library home page

ProQuest: Search gay rights movement as subject, then refine

- SIRS: download the Gay Rights research guide

- Issues & Controversies @

WebCat -
Use “videorecording” as an additional search term

SIRS – check “Graphics” in results list

Subject Guides from RHCL site

Librarians’ Internet Index

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
This site focuses on international human rights violations against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and those with HIV and AIDS. 

Human Trafficking


WebCat -
Use “Human Trafficking” for your Subject search

ProQuest: Search Human Trafficking as subject, then refine


Other Online Databases:

Issues & Controversies

CQ Researcher

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Same as above

SIRS – check “Graphics” in results list

Subject Guides from RHCL site

UK Human Trafficking Centre
The aim of this Centre in the United Kingdom is to "increase knowledge and understanding of human trafficking amongst police and partner agencies, as well as raise awareness of the issue and encourage the public to come forward with information."
This is an organizational web site funded by the U.S. State Department that contains information on trafficking in many parts of the world.




ProQuest: Use Suggested Topics, see Subject Guide Emigration & immigration 

SIRS: Search Immigration as subject, then refine 

Other Online Databases:

- Issues & Controversies (older article, but click on Sidebar topics)

- Encyclopedia Britannica

- Gale Virtual Reference Library

- CQ Researcher (use on campus only)

Same as above

SIRS – check “Graphics” in results list

Subject Guides from RHCL site

Center for Immigration Studies
Non-partisan, non-profit think tank devoted to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.

National Immigration Forum
Pro-immigration site that "advocates and builds public support for public policies that welcome immigrants and refugees and that are fair and supportive to newcomers in our country." 

HPV Vaccine*

(Human Papillomavirus)


WebCat – books on HPV, little on vaccine

For recent news on vaccine:



Other Online Databases:

-Issues & Controversies

- Medical articles in Health Ref. Center Academic, Health & Wellness Resource Center, Medline Plus, and Highwire Press 

WebCat -
Try a Video/DVD Search using “Sexually Transmitted Diseases” as a subject

SIRS – consult Sidebars in results list

HPV - Medline Plus

Human Papillomavirus infection - CDC

Human Papillovavirus - National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases

Conflict in Darfur


WebCat -
Use  “Darfur Conflict” for your Keyword search or

Use "Genocide Sudan Darfur" for your Subject search

ProQuest: Search Darfur Conflict as subject. 

SIRS: Keyword/natural language search “Darfur conflict”   

Other Online Databases:

Gale Virtual Reference Library

- CQ Researcher (use on campus only)


SIRS – check “Graphics” in results list

Darfur Information This is the Sudan government's web page on Darfur.

Crisis in Darfur - article from the International Crisis Group web site.

The Genocide in Darfur - Briefing Paper


JSevilla-Marzona 02/07

Adapted by JCoe 09/07

Adapted by Tania Shabelnik 09/27

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