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ENG 1061/1070 English Composition/Effective Speaking: Personal Research Essay/Exploratory Essay

Getting started with background research for composition and speech topics.

Exploratory essay assignment

Help with your research with the personal research essay or exploratory essay

Browsing for topics

Browsing for topic ideas

For fresh ideas, see what's in the news

Browse the New York Times online

Register for a NY account through the Castleton library. Once you have registered, you may access directly, and sign in using the user name and password that you have created.

Browse National Public Radio (NPR) for news of interest nationally or British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for international news.

Browse debate topics

Includes points and counterpoints for both sides of debate topics, including sources for more info

Pros and cons of controversial issues.  See additional sources for each topic at the bottom of the page.


Subscription resources for topics to browse and full-text sources. (Log-in required for off-campus access)

Encyclopedias about social issues you can access online:

To help understand political polarization in the US

Red Blue Dictionary

From Shows how people from across the political spectrum define, think or feel differently about the same term or issue. Provides multi-perspective analysis of controversial terms, from "abortion" to "Zionism."

See to see center, left, and right perspectives on topics in the news.


Left vs. Right Infographic

Click to get to website with enlarged image of this infographic detailing what distinguishes the left and right poles of politics in the U.S.

Example of advanced search

An example of an advanced search using Boolean searching

2nd try, a better search:


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Castleton OneSearch

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