Finding Background Information
Start with reference sources for exploring social, political, or environmental issues at the forefront of national debate. Depending on the topic, your search could begin in a subject encyclopedia, which will provide useful background information and a bibliography of other sources.
To locate a subject encyclopedia in the Willey Library reference collection either in print or online, search the VSC Library Catalog using keywords to specify the subject area. For example:
Culture AND encyclopedias
Elections AND encyclopedias
Critical issues AND encyclopedias
Dying AND encyclopedias
Guns AND encyclopedias
Books in Series
The Willey Library subscribes to The Reference Shelf, a series devoted to a broad spectrum of issues on the public agenda. We also subscribe to books and reports on environmental topics from the Worldwatch Institute. Use the links below to access the titles in the VSC Library Catalog. Then, click on the Details of a title in the list to find the call number of the book in our collection.
Search a multidisciplinary database such as Academic Onefile (Login with JSC MyID) which indexes periodicals and journals in the arts, the social sciences and the sciences. If you are trying to narrow your topic, enter a subject guide search and look at the various subdivisions denoting the economic, political, historical, moral, psychological or legal aspects of a topic. Other useful subdivisions are “research” or “statistics.”
Use Academic Search Premier, another outstanding multidisciplinary database providing full text for many articles. Use keyword searching to combine two or more terms to narrow a topic.
Examples: nuclear power AND public opinion
social media AND privacy
Academic Search Premier Tutorial
Use this Guide on the Side tutorial to learn the basics of searching the multidisciplinary database, Academic Search Premier. The tutorial software was developed by librarians at the University of Arizona.
Selected Periodical Titles
The following titles are widely recognized as indispensable sources for monitoring the political, economic and social topics of our times.
Congressional Digest is subtitled The Pro and Con Monthly and examines both sides of issues that are debated in Congress. Find the current five years in the JSC Periodical Collection or link to full text of Congressional Digest in Academic Search Premier.
CQ Weekly (JSC Periodical Collection 1998--) is a publication for reporting the news and activities of the U. S. Congress.
CQ Almanac provides a synthesis of activity for the previous Congress and is located in the reference collection at R/328.707/C76c/Year.