FIRC Social Studies

BEFORE you dive into your research…

  • Start your CMS-style source list in Noodle Tools
  • Download the library password list
  • As needed, review videos for using reference databases & Noodle Tools

Search Words are the Keys that Open Doors to Sources

As you do your preliminary research, build a list/map of potential search words by paying attention to the words used to discuss the topic and to name people, events, places, court cases, treaties, legislation, etc. that arise in the conversation. Note any formal subject headings/terms assigned to a source in databases too.

Notice how language shifts when bias shiftsChanging your search words can help you locate sources from contrasting perspectives.

As you read, do so actively and with intention, notice…

  • How information about the topic is organized (e.g., broader, narrower, related terms) – this can help you narrow a topic
  • Special vocabulary used by those who discuss the topic
  • Differences of opinion, controversies, or unanswered questions – this signals unsettled territory which can be fertile ground for historical arguments
  • Individuals, groups, organizations, think tanks, or agencies associated with the topic – these could become search words or their sites may lead you to resources that don’t appear in open web search results

12 Search Tips for Databases & the Open Web

  • Used Advanced Search where you can limit by date and/or specify where search word is located
  • In Gale in Context: U.S. History & Gale in Context World History, you can opt to search BOTH databases at once using the drop-down menu to the left of the main search box
  • Both Gale in Context databases organize Primary Sources in their own Content Type group at the top
  • When searching Gale eBooks, search for one key word or phrase, then if you don’t find what you want within the first few pages of results, try using the Search Within box
  • In Gale eBooks, using Advanced Search and searching for your topic as a keyword in the first box then document* (which will find document, documentary, etc.) in the Publication Title field in the second box may bring primary documents to the top of your search results
  • In many databases, filtering your results by Document Type can lead to particular types of primary sources (e.g., speeches, court testimony, government documents)
  • In many databases, using the Search Within box can help you narrow your results to a particular subtopic that you notice appearing among a broader set of results
  • When searching historical newspapers, remember that conflicts often go by many different names, including names they don’t really get until after the conflict ends; this can impact your search results
  • Too many results? Limiting your search for one of your key search terms to either the Title/Document Title field or the Subject Heading/Subject Term field may be an effective way to view a smaller set of relevant results
  • Since primary sources are from the time period of an event, limiting the date range of your search can be useful
  • On the open web, including the type of primary source you’d like to find in your search (e.g., speeches) can be useful
  • When searching the open web for primary sources, adding words like archive, exhibit, or collection to your search can be useful; such collections may be listed in the External Links section at the bottom of related Wikipedia articles

Equal Rights Amendment

Leading Issue: Women’s Rights in Issues Researcher – summary, viewpoints, timeline; expand search by clicking “Find More Sources” and using search filters or adding search words

Gale eBooks includes articles from relevant books, including The Women’s Liberation Movement

CRS Reports can also be useful for understanding the equal rights amendment and related issues such as the gender pay gap. Tip: These reports have a detailed Table of Contents to help you use them efficiently

Gale in Context: U.S. History – history focus (unlike general PowerSearch database)

AP Source (EBSCO) – magazines and journals (trade/professional and scholarly), as well as e-books covering range of topics and perspectives

Genderwatch (ProQuest) – scholarly journal articles, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books and NGO, government and special reports

Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) – New York Times, 1851-2007; Wall Street Journal, 1889-2000; and the Guardian, 1791-2003

PowerSearch (Gale) – news, magazines, journals, primary sources, and e-books

Wall Street Journal @ WSJ.com – access to current issue and, via Advanced Search, articles back to 1998; note: when limiting by date range, input the date as Year/Month/Day (e.g., 2020/10/01); watch this one-minute video about how to access this resource (if you’re on your smartphone, choose to view this video in your phone’s browser unless you already have a Loom account; you do not need the Loom app to watch it)

AllSides Balanced Search – a Google News search with coverage sorted into left, center, and right 

Think Tank Search – customized Google search tool created by the Harvard Kennedy School; familiarize yourself with the political leanings of top think thanks by perusing the list of Top Influential Think Tanks 2021

Vaccine Mandates

Leading Issue: Vaccines in Issues Researcher – summary, viewpoints, timeline; expand search by clicking “Find More Sources” and using search filters or adding search words

CRS Reports can also be useful for understanding vaccine mandates including state and federal authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations. Tip: These reports have a detailed Table of Contents to help you use them efficiently

Gale in Context: U.S. History – history focus (unlike general PowerSearch database)

AP Source (EBSCO) – magazines and journals (trade/professional and scholarly), as well as e-books covering range of topics and perspectives

Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) – New York Times, 1851-2007; Wall Street Journal, 1889-2000; and the Guardian, 1791-2003

PowerSearch (Gale) – news, magazines, journals, primary sources, and e-books

Wall Street Journal @ WSJ.com – access to current issue and, via Advanced Search, articles back to 1998; note: when limiting by date range, input the date as Year/Month/Day (e.g., 2020/10/01); watch this one-minute video about how to access this resource (if you’re on your smartphone, choose to view this video in your phone’s browser unless you already have a Loom account; you do not need the Loom app to watch it)

AllSides Balanced Search – a Google News search with coverage sorted into left, center, and right 

Think Tank Search – customized Google search tool created by the Harvard Kennedy School; familiarize yourself with the political leanings of top think thanks by perusing the list of Top Influential Think Tanks 2021

Electoral College

Leading Issue: Electoral College in Issues Researcher – summary, viewpoints, timeline; expand search by clicking “Find More Sources” and using search filters or adding search words

CRS Reports can also be useful for understanding the electoral college including a CRS report on how the electoral college works in contemporary elections and an “In Focus” brief about reforms under consideration by the 117th Congress (which is the current session). Tip: These reports have a detailed Table of Contents to help you use them efficiently

Electoral College topic portal in Gale in Context: U.S. HistoryGale eBooks includes articles from relevant books, including Critical Perspectives on the Electoral College

AP Source (EBSCO) – magazines and journals (trade/professional and scholarly), as well as e-books covering range of topics and perspectives

Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) – New York Times, 1851-2007; Wall Street Journal, 1889-2000; and the Guardian, 1791-2003

PowerSearch (Gale) – news, magazines, journals, primary sources, and e-books

Wall Street Journal @ WSJ.com – access to current issue and, via Advanced Search, articles back to 1998; note: when limiting by date range, input the date as Year/Month/Day (e.g., 2020/10/01); watch this one-minute video about how to access this resource (if you’re on your smartphone, choose to view this video in your phone’s browser unless you already have a Loom account; you do not need the Loom app to watch it)

AllSides Balanced Search – a Google News search with coverage sorted into left, center, and right 

Think Tank Search – customized Google search tool created by the Harvard Kennedy School; familiarize yourself with the political leanings of top think thanks by perusing the list of Top Influential Think Tanks 2021

U.S. Involvement in Afghanistan

Leading Issue: Afghanistan in Issues Researcher – summary, viewpoints, timeline; expand search by clicking “Find More Sources” and using search filters or adding search words

CRS Reports can also be useful for understanding Afghanistan including a brief about background of recent U.S. policy there. Tip: These reports have a detailed Table of Contents to help you use them efficiently

Gale eBooks includes articles from relevant books, including 9/11 and The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and The Encyclopedia of Invasions and Conquests which includes articles about British, Russian, U.N, and U.S. involvement in Afghanistan

Afghanistan topic portal in Gale in Context: World History (Gale)

AP Source (EBSCO) – magazines and journals (trade/professional and scholarly), as well as e-books covering range of topics and perspectives

Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) – New York Times, 1851-2007; Wall Street Journal, 1889-2000; and the Guardian, 1791-2003

PowerSearch (Gale) – news, magazines, journals, primary sources, and e-books

Wall Street Journal @ WSJ.com – access to current issue and, via Advanced Search, articles back to 1998; note: when limiting by date range, input the date as Year/Month/Day (e.g., 2020/10/01); watch this one-minute video about how to access this resource (if you’re on your smartphone, choose to view this video in your phone’s browser unless you already have a Loom account; you do not need the Loom app to watch it)

AllSides Balanced Search – a Google News search with coverage sorted into left, center, and right 

Think Tank Search – customized Google search tool created by the Harvard Kennedy School; familiarize yourself with the political leanings of top think thanks by perusing the list of Top Influential Think Tanks 2021

%d bloggers like this: