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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 Times.com account through the Castleton library. Once you have registered, you may access NYTimes.com 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


"Debatabase"
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)

Red Blue Dictionary

From AllSides.com. 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."

Encyclopedias about social issues you can access online:

Sources of persuasive pieces

Searching for sources

Click "Browse Issues" or search for your topic.  Then, for any issue, see the Viewpoints essays.  Click on the word VIEWPOINTS to see all the essays.

Example of advanced search

An example of an advanced search using Boolean searching

2nd try, a better search:

 

Article databases

Searching for sources, continued

Searching in multidisciplinary article databases

These magazines in the Castleton library (and full-text in some subscription databases) tend to have substantial essays on controversial issues:

The Atlantic

Harper's

Nation

National Review

The New Republic

New Yorker


You can search all of the magazines above at once in an advanced search in Castleton OneSearch

Start an Advanced Search. Copy the phrase in green below and paste it in a search box. Select SO Journal Title/Source from the drop-down menu and add your search term or terms in the next box.

atlantic or harper's or nation or "national review" or "new republic" or "new yorker"


Includes the New York Times. 

To search within specific magazines, like the ones suggested above, put the titles in one box and select Publication title - PUB from the drop-down menu, and add additional search terms in another box.

In ProQuest Central, in an advanced search, you can choose several types of documents. 

You might try these document types:

  • commentary
  • editorial
  • essay
  • feature
  • front page/cover story

Use the box that looks like this to select document types:

You can also limit the type of source to magazines and newspapers.


You can search all of the magazines above at once in an advanced search in Academic Search Premier.

Start an Advanced Search. Copy the phrase in green below and paste it in a search box. Select SO Journal Name from the drop-down menu.

atlantic or harper's or nation or "national review" or "new republic" or "new yorker"

Add your search term or terms in the next box

Below, you can limit the document type to "Editorial"


 

To help understand political polarization in the US

See AllSides.com 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.

For background

Castleton OneSearch

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