• Government Issues Research

    • #2 Pre-Research on Databases
      • Tips 
        • **Browse the "topics" page to find your topic first. 
          • Keyword searches will come later after the pre-research phase.
        • As you find sources, be sure to cite them in noodletools
        • Start writing down the keywords you come across.
      • Databases:
        • The sources found in the databases are not available on the free web.
        • You can view video tutorials for each database on the Tutorials Page.
        • opposing  global
        • jstor  issues


  • #1. Research Skill: Keywords & Search Strings

    1. Create a Keyword Bank:
      1. Write down the important words, names, or ideas relating to your topic that you currently know.
      2. Add more words, names, and ideas as you discover them in your research.
      3. Sometimes your original keywords will not bring you the expected results, so it is important to have a bank of alternate search terms ready to go.
      4. example 1
    2. Create a Search String:
      1. You should always research by searching carefully selected keywords NOT entire sentances!
        1. Putting "and" between two keywords will NARROW your results so only results with BOTH terms will show up.
        2. Putting "OR" between two keywords will EXPAND your results so results with EITHER of the terms will show up.
        3. Putting "NOT" between keywords will LIMIT results to ignore results with certain words.
      2. examples2

  • #2. Research Skill: Finding Sources

    • When looking for sources, there are three primary "places" you can look. 
      • Books / Ebooks
      • Subscription Databases
      • Free Web
    • Research is best conducted using a range or sources from several different "places." Variety is the spice of life, if possible its best not to use only one type of source provider.


    • Ebooks (on MackinVia)
      • mackinvia widget
      • GVHS Library now offers more than 1500 e-books & audiobooks.
      • You GV ipads have the MackinVia app! You could also use the browser version if you prefer.
      • Log in to your MackinVia account with your usual GV Office 354 username and password!
      • Find a book you'd like and click "check out!"
      • Learn more about using MackinVia on the MackinVia Padlet!


    • Physical Books  (contact Miss Bogan if you'd like help!)
      • Books and E-Books should not be overlooked as a valuable source type for your research. GVHS Library has recently added more than 5000 new e-books, many of which are nonfiction and pertain to the topics you are researching. I highly suggest you see if we have any ebooks on your topic.


    • Free Web
      • You can sometimes find great resources on the free web but you will be expected to carefully evaluate these sources before using them.
      •  Google.com 
        • Try using some of the "google search tips" listed below, to get better google results
      • Refseek 
        • Refseek is a great alternative to google, because it tries to bring more academic sources and fewer commercial sources.
      • Google's Dataset Search
        • find data sets/statistics using google's dataset search

    Google Search Tips

    Google Quotations     Google Keywords     
    Google Domain Search     Google Date Range     
    Google Broaden Search     Google Exclude Words     
    Google File Format     Google Number Range    
    Google Website search      Google Define     
    Google Related Sites


    Wikipedia - How to Use Wikipedia for Academic Research:

    1. You CAN use Wikipedia:
      1. Use it to find keywords for your search strings
      2. Use it to familiarize yourself with the broad overview of your topic
      3. Use it to get background info on a topic
      4. Use it to find other sources (go to bottom of page, explore cited sources there)
    2. You just cannot quote from, or cite Wikipedia as a source
      1. Why? Because, even though Wikipedia has become an exceptional information resource, it IS a Wiki, which means that someone could technically add misinformation. Since we can never be 100% absolutely certain of the author of the information, Wikipedia itself cannot be quoted or cited as a reputable source.


    • Dataset Search -
    • Finding Legislative Information - There are a couple different ways to find out what legislative action is being taken around different issues/topics.
      • Keyword search Congress.gov's Legislation searcher
        • Each state also has a way to keyword search for state legislature. Google "bill search STATE" to find the one you want. This is Pennsylvania's.
      • Another avenue to try is the following google search.
        • google tip graphic
      • Keyword search Congress.gov's Legislation searcher
        • Each state also has a way to keyword search for state legislature. Google "bill search STATE" to find the one you want. This is Pennsylvania's.


    • Additional Free Web Resources to consider:
      • ProCon.org: an independent non-profit founded by Steven C. Markoff “to provide resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias.”
      • AllSides - AllSides curates stories from right, center and left-leaning media so that readers can easily compare how bias influences reporting.
      • ProPublica. ProPublica produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
      • National Discussion and Debate Series: This program was created “to encourage a vigorous, well-informed discussion on the national stage about the major issues of our time.”
      • Debate.org - Gain balanced, non-biased insight into each issue and review the breakdown of pro-con stances within our community.
      • MediaBiasFactCheck - This website is awesome for checking the biases and reputation associated with news sources. It will give you info about the source's political leanings and reputation which helps you decide if your source is reliable.
      • Open Secrets. Tracks how much and where candidates get their money.
      • WHOis.net - find out who owns a website or domain name. You can then search for that person or organization's reputation and biases.
      • isidewith.com - example of ideas
      • Washington Post Fact Checker. Although WP has a left-center bias, its checks are excellent and sourced. Bias because they fact check conservative claims more than liberal ones.
      • The Sunlight Foundation. Uses public policy data-based journalism to make politics more transparent/accountable
      • Snopes.  Often the first to set facts straight on wild fake news claims.
      • Fact Check. This nonpartisan, nonprofit monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by U.S. political players, including politicians, TV ads, debates, interviews and news releases.​
      • Media Matters. This nonprofit and self-described liberal-leaning research center monitors and corrects conservative misinformation in the media.​
      • NewsBusters. A project of the conservative Media Research Center, NewsBusters is focused on “documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.”​


  • #5 Annotated Bibliography 

    Printable - Annotated Bib Graphic Organizer

    What is an annotated bibliography?

    An annotated bibliography (or works cited) is essentially a beefed up works cited page. Your annotated bibliography must include the following information for each source you use for research:

    • Citation
    • Brief summary
      • 1-3 sentences summarizing the content of the source.
      • Include main points and add detail to dig deeper into the source.
    • Evaluation
      • 1-3 sentences evaluating the information and author of the source.
      • Some things you might mention include: is the author a resepected authority on the subject? Can you trust the facts provided? What type of audience was this source written for? Is there a bias in the author's point of view? Does this information corroborate with information from other sources?
    • Reflection
      • 1-3 sentences reflecting on the usefullness of this source.
      • Did this source provide you with a major portion of information or miniscule amounts?
      • Did the source contain interesting information?
      • Did you learn something about your topic you had not been previously aware of?

    Example of annotated citation

    Guillermo, Kathy. "Zika Response should Not Include Animal Experiments." People 
         for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 28 Jul 2016,SIRS Issues Researcher

         This article discusses the morality and scientific 
         veracity of animal experimentation, specifically in reference to the recent 
         Zika Virus outbreak. Guillermo's main point here is that "studies should 
         add to the body of knowledge of medical treatments for humans" and that 
         "studies on animals won't do this."  Citing a recent NIH 
         strategic plan, Guillermo offers further research which concludes that data 
         from other animals does not apply to human beings. Kathy Guillermo is the 
         senior vice president of laboratory investigations at PETA. PETA is an 
         american animal rights organization and nonprofit corporation. Because PETA 
         has a clear stake in this argument, and clear bias against harm towards 
         animals, I will look for corroborating research before using this source 
         for the project. I will use this source in my project to demonstrate opposition 
         towards animal experimentation.