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CPP 494 Community Works

Community and Social Issues Research Suggestions

Researching current community and social issues usually requires gathering information from a number of different sources.  In addition you must find and integrate information from local community and national sources.  Here are some suggestions for each of your three research based assignments:

Social Problem and Identity Paper: 5 Sources Required

This is primarily an overview or survey of the social issue you are interested in.  Focus on:

  • Background Information about your issue. Use the Online Encyclopedia Collections in the Find Background Information tab in the guide to start.  Encyclopedia entries can be valuable for providing overviews of issues that will deepen your thinking and understanding of them more fully. 
  • Online documents primarily from government or social service and advocacy organizations are good at explaining social issues in detail.  Use the Using the Web box in the Find Background Information tab for tips on searching the Web for government and organizational sites.  When reading and using organizational sources, make sure you can recognize and identify their values, mission and potentially their political stance.  

Social Empathy Paper Part One:  5 Sources Required

For this paper you will be focusing on local sources almost exclusively.  Use Researching Local Issues and Sources tab.  The two most important tools you need to search are 1) Local Newspapers, and 2) Local Government and Organization reports and documents.

  • Local Newspapers
    • No matter where you are, Access World News is a must use database.  You can limit your searches to particular states and individual newspapers.  Includes some blogs and online sources.  
    • For Arizonans:  the Arizona Republic database from the ASU Library is a must.  It is the most prominent state newspaper.  The Republic is not part of Access World News.
    • For those of you out of state:  check if your state or local library has a database for your state or the local newspaper.  
  • Local Government and Organizations
    • ​Use Google and the search tips for limiting your searches in the Researching Local Issues and Sources tab.  Be patient and take your time exploring and reviewing what you find.  Be flexible with your search terms and try different combinations.  Use the "site:.domain name" search feature.

Social Empathy Part Three:  10 Sources Required

You can use relevant sources from the previous research assignments, but you will want to expand your search to include more on the history of your social problem in its national and local context.  Use the tools in Library Research Resources to search for scholarly journal articles and traditionally published sources.  These will often provide in-depth histories and analysis of social issues and problems.  

Finally:  Keep track of the sources you use!  Create a system for storing your sources or keep a running list of your sources (a bibliography).  

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