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Use the resources on this page to get a sense of your problem within a wider context. These resources will direct you to excellent sources of information, but remember to ground your topic within your community. Be sure you are looking for local information as well.
Search Here, Too
These two sources are both excellent. Be sure to try them, too!
CQ Researcher Online
Provides reporting and analysis on issues in the news, with coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy. Each report includes an introductory overview, a background and chronology, an assessment of the current situation, a pro/con debate by representatives of opposing positions, and bibliographies of key sources.
Points of View Reference Center
This full-text database is designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue. The database profiles over 250 topics, each with an overview, point, counterpoint, and Critical Thinking Guide. Topics are supported by the main essays, articles from leading political magazines, newspapers, radio and TV news transcripts, primary source documents (including videos) and reference sources. Access is provided by eLibraryMN (ELM).
These databases are a great place to start, in part because they contain articles from many disciplines. You should also think about the subject area that best fits your problem. Are you looking at a health-related problem? Or one set in the schools? Check out our Research Guides and select the subject area(s) that best fit. Browse the guides that are listed under your subject area to find additional places to search.
Academic Search Premier
A good place to start research on most any subject. This multi-disciplinary database indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,900 peer-reviewed journals. Access is provided by eLibraryMN (ELM).
Indexes over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Includes current full text for over 30 journals and back issues for hundreds of journals. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click "Browse" > "Journals by discipline."
ProQuest US Newsstream
Indexing and selected full text access to over 350 newspapers from around the world. Archival coverage begins in 1985 for some titles. Access is provided by eLibraryMN (ELM).
Public Affairs Index
Covers global contemporary public policy issues, ranging from public health, the environment, housing, human and civil rights, to international conflict and natural disasters. Draws on scholarly publications, conference papers, government documents and reference works.
Try a search in the Gustavus Library catalog to see if we have any books about your problem, too. Don't shy away from books. Even though they are longer than articles, books can also contain very useful information - and if you use them right, can be even quicker to read than articles. Check out this post (and video!) from the Happy Arkansan on how to effectively skim an academic book.
When looking for statistics related to your problem, it is best to look at what comes up in sources you find. Sometimes we think of statistics as something that exists independently of content, when in fact you'll be more likely to find statistics in the sources you are already finding. Check out the state-wide data box on the first page of this guide. Having said that, the Library does have a Guide to Statistics, which may be useful. Please also contact me for help finding statistics.
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