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Reference Sources

Quick Facts about Countries

General and Specialized Reference

  • PowerSearch (all-in-one search of General OneFile, Opposing Viewpoints, US History, World History, and Virtual Reference Library): reference articles appear under Books; on the lower right, you may narrow results by Document Type (e.g., topic overviews, case overviews, biographies)
  • Congressional Research Service reports (curated by the Government Documents department at the University of North Texas). Note: CRS reports are also available at EveryCRSReport.comCRSReports.comFederation of American Scientists, and appear in PowerSearch in the Books grouping of results.
  • Explora: reference content includes topic overviews, encyclopedia articles, and introductions, prefaces, or chapters within some e-books; on the left menu, you may narrow results by Source Type
  • MW Library Catalog – reference books (e.g. History in Dispute)
  • Oxford Handbooks Online – handbooks provide scholarly-level insight into a topic, so you generally want to read some general reference sources first before searching for a handbook article
  • Salem Press Reference: small reference set covering American Decades, the environment, immigration, and migration
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The following databases are part of PowerSearch; however, by searching them directly, you may find relevant results faster.

  • US History in Context: focused on U.S. History; for an overview of a topic, focus on results in the reference and biographies groupings, including topic overviews and case overviews; in PowerSearch, most reference articles from USHIC are in the group of search results labeled Books
  • World History in Context: focused on World History; for an overview of a topic, focus on results in the reference and biographies groupings, including topic overviews and case overviews; in PowerSearch, most reference articles from WHIC are in the group of search results labeled Books
  • Virtual Reference Library: use one word or phrase to search VRL; VRL articles are included in PowerSearch, but in VRL’s direct interface you may search within a specific subset of reference books

Research Sources

Contrasting Viewpoints 

  • Issues Researcher: designed for finding an array of viewpoints about U.S. public policy issues
  • Opposing Viewpoints (access ends 9/30/19) designed for finding an array of viewpoints about U.S. public policy issues
  • Explora: if your search results includes sources in Source Type = Trade Publications (see left menu), they may provide an industry/profession perspective on the topic (e.g., perspective on fracking from the energy industry); Explora also includes several magazines with a political bias (e.g., The Nation and The National Review) or other slant
  • MW Library Catalog – such as History in Dispute (in reference section) and the Taking Sides series (in the 900’s)
  • PowerSearch: when narrowing News or Magazine results, look for Document Type of editorials, columns, or commentary; when narrowing Book results, look for viewpoint essays or reports
  • AllSides.com (OA) – see trending news from the left, right, and center, browse for an issue, or use “Balanced Search” to find news about a particular topic; results link to original articles
  • ProCon.org (OA) – read contrasting viewpoints about a variety of policy issues; most viewpoints are abbreviated from the original source (which is noted at top of viewpoint); use Google to find the original source; if the original source is not open access, try searching for it in Explora or PowerSearch
  • Virtual Reference Library: use one word or phrase to search VRL; VRL articles are included in PowerSearch, but in VRL’s direct interface you may search within a specific subset of reference books
  • Virtual Reference Library: use one word or phrase to search VRL; VRL includes books the contrasting viewpoints on several issues, such as Debates on U.S. Immigration
Primary Sources

Scholarly Sources

Tip: BEFORE searching for scholarly sources, develop an understanding of your topic, be familiar with the vocabulary used to discuss it, and have a working list of related topics and subtopics.
  • JSTOR – archive of scholarly journals, as well as pamphlets and open access books; as an archive, JSTOR’s focus is on older content, so the most recent three to five years of journal coverage is not included in JSTOR; however, the coverage may go back as far as the 1800’s if the publication has been in print that long
  • Oxford Handbooks Online – handbooks provide scholarly-level insight into a topic, so you generally want to read some general reference sources first before searching for a handbook article
  • Explora – scholarly journals from across many subjects/disciplines, including some current coverage; some journal backfiles may go back as far as the mid-1980’s
  • PowerSearch – scholarly journals from across many subjects/disciplines, including some current coverage; some journal backfiles may go back as far as the mid-1980’s
  • Genderwatch – scholarly journals, dissertations, and other content focused on gender and sexuality issues, including some current coverage
  • Science Direct – (LIMIT search to most recent five years) includes scholarly journals in psychology, education, & sociology; to set up off-campus access, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on “Remote access,” then register and verify your GSGIS account

Current Events

NEWS Search Engines– Search the past 30 days of news from multiple sources
  • AllSides.com (OA) – see trending news from the left, right, and center, browse for an issue, or use “Balanced Search” to find news about a particular topic; results link to original articles
World News Sources Many of the news agencies listed here have regional pages too.
News in Other Languages
Google News has versions for several countries – a few in English, but most in that country’s primary language. Consider using a free Google account to customize your Google News with news in a languages you’re studying. To select another language for Google News (other than English), scroll down to access the Language & Region options on the left toolbar.
 

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