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Current Issues

This research guide is designed to help students doing research about current and/or controversial issues.


What Is Your Research Topic?

You may need to refine your topic from a very broad concern to a narrow one, or possibly reverse. If you're looking at a broad topic, such as gun rights, consider:

  • Who is affected by this issue?
  • What policies have been proposed for this issue?
  • What locations are impacted by this issue?

As a result, you might narrow your topic with results such as:

  • Gun rights and African Americans
  • Open carry laws, gun magazine limit laws, gun purchase waiting periods
  • Gun rights in Texas, gun rights in Harris County

The Importance of Currency

Why Your Sources Should Be Current

When searching for information, you want to use current sources of information. That is especially important when you are researching literally current issues. This video explains why.

Introductory Articles from Databases

Database Basics

Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video.

How to Use Issues & Controversies

The next video shows you how to search Issues & Controversies, which is one of the library's databases focusing on controversial issues. It provides helpful introductions to arguments on different sides of controversial issues, including social, political, and economic issues, in the United States.

How to Use Opposing Viewpoints

After searching Issues & Controversies, I recommend exploring Opposing Viewpoints. This is another controversial issues database. Its resources include statistics, news stories, scholarly journal articles, and viewpoint arguments on a wide variety of current issues.

In-Depth Articles from Other Databases

How to Search In Depth

Issues & Controversies and Opposing Viewpoints provide sound introductions to controversial issues, but you should dig deeper. These next two databases will help you do so. 

Searching Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete is a database with newspaper, magazine, and scholarly journal articles on a wide variety of subjects. This video tutorial will show you how to search it.

Searching US Major Dailies



We have two excellent ebook databases. These let you read full-text books online. The interfaces can be confusing, so I have included a tutorial video for each one.

EBSCO EBook Collection


How to Search:


Search this Database:


ProQuest Ebook Central


How to Search:


Search this Database:

MLA Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources

You must cite your sources according to the MLA style of documentation.

This is our video that introduces MLA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper.

This is our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for MLA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.

This is our 2-page handout that summarizes the MLA style. It includes most of the types of sources that students commonly use.

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