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ENGL 102 Researching Current Issues

Great databases to use for any topic & especially English 101/102. Find a topic, understand all sides of the issue, get background info & find academic books + journal articles. Start with CQ Researcher!

Step by Step: Where to Research

1.  Start with the library's Primo search, which looks through all our books & articles! Sign in & click the "pin" to save favorites.

2. Then try the library's hundreds of subject databases (click "Subjects" or "Types" on that page to narrow the list down).

3. Use Google Scholar to search Regent's articles! (To link: menu; Settings; Library Links; search for Regent; click & Save).

4. Use Google & the internet strategically to find credible articles (use discernment or look up specific publications, as listed below). Use the LibKey browser tool to get instant links to Regent's articles & e-books when you see them cited on the web.

5. Use Google Books or Amazon to see all the books that are out there on your topic; both have book previews of the chapters. Use to search libraries near you for books, or search for specific titles in the library's Primo search (narrow to "books").

6. Make requests in Primo for sources we don't have: Click "Get it for me from another library" or "Still Didn't Find Wht You Need?" in our library Primo searchOr place holds & mailing requests for physical books: click "Request Regent's Copy" or "Request PDF of Chapter" (emailed).  

7. Ask a librarian for help through chat, email, or appointments for another perspective on your research. Librarians know the best resources & ways to search for your topic. See the Reading Lists below for sources compiled by a librarian.

8. Be flexible in your research. Try different key words, terminology, databases, websites, angles, parameters, and even a new topic if necessary. 

Finding a Topic & Understanding Different Sides of an Issue

Finding a history topic:  Look at issues such as:

  • right or wrong, ethical, & value questions, like "was it right to drop the atomic bombs and/or to bomb German cities?" 
  • debatable issues with more than one side, like "was the invention of trains or another technology good for society?"
  • questions people wonder about, like "how did Hitler use propaganda and rhetoric to control or brainwash the German people?"
  • or, "how did Americans win the Revolution against the bigger British army?" or "why was the Revolution fought and was it justified?"
  • or, "what were Lincoln's views on slavery?" or "how did Christian beliefs motivate abolitionists to fight slavery?"
  • any question of cause (how did one thing cause another or effect something else) like "why did we fight in Vietnam?"
  • or policy/law/court decisions, like "how did the Supreme Court uphold segregation and then overturn it?" or "how did military strategy change with the invention of modern weapons during the Civil War or World War I or World War II?"

You usually want to find both primary sources (historical documents) and secondary sources (books and articles about history).

To find topics & issues, try browsing or searching for articles in publications like:

National Review,

Wall Street Journal,

The Atlantic,

The New York Times,  

Reason, and 

Psychology Today 

For Christian perspectives and issues, try these:

First Things,

Christianity Today,


The Gospel Coalition, and 

Christ & Pop Culture.

For ethical and family-related issues, try:

Discovery Institute

Heritage Foundation

Family Research Council

Ethics & Public Policy Center

US Council of Catholic Bishops

Focus on the Family

For education issues, try:

Liberal Arts Education Recommended Reading List

James G. Martin Center for Educational Renewal, 

Fordham Institute

Chalkboard Review,

The Grade, and the

Chronicle of Higher Education

For political & cultural issues, try these influential think tanks:

Manhattan Institute (Conservative) and City Journal

AEI --see "Centers" (Conservative/libertarian)

Cato (Libertarian)

Pew Society (Non-partisan)

Brookings (Non-partisan/liberal)

Hoover Institution (Conservative/libertarian)

Be aware that each publication or think tank has a certain worldview or political slant.  Try Googling your topic plus the name of a publication to see articles from a certain perspective. See this guide to finding newspaper and magazine articles in the online library collection

Try ideas & research from other influential Think Tanks, as wells as political advocacy groups, churches/denominations, universities, museums, and other non-profits. Here is our library page on think tanks & policy organizations.  Note that each one of these will have a certain ideology and certain goals. Look for sixteen indicators of bias just to be aware of how it influences what you are reading.

On Using Google: Keep in mind that what comes up in Google must be sifted through for bias, originality, and quality.  It's a good idea to assess every source in Google (see who sponsors the website & who the author is) and also to Google the name of a good publication along with your topic. Google is good for finding news & opinion articles in newspapers & magazines, government research, university websites, free academic journals, free historical archives/primary sources, free classic books, Christian sites, & think tank research. See the rest of this guide for recommended online sources. 

Databases For Credible Articles on Any Topic

Can I use Google? Yes!

Google, Google Scholar, and Google Books are all great tools.

Google Scholar can be used to search for academic sources. Google Books can be used to see book previews. 

Google Scholar should automatically link to our library articles in our databases, in the right margin of your search!

If it doesn't do that, we recommend that you link Google Scholar to our library to see articles owned in our collection instantly. 

Directions for how to link Google Scholar to Regent Library:  

  • Go to Google Scholar
  • Open the three-bar or "hamburger" menu in the upper left 
  • Click "Settings" in the drop-down menu
  • Click the "Library Links" section
  • Search for 'regent university'
  • Select the 'Regent University -' option
  • Click "Save" and you will be returned to the Google Scholar homepage
  • Search for your key words (or titles or authors). Try different combinations.  
  • When you find an article that's available in our collection, it will have '' in the right column
  • Click on that link and select an access option - you will be directed to the Regent login page
  • For books that come up, you will need to come to Primo and search for them to see if we have them

Tips for Using Google Scholar (Special Operators)

  • try enclosing words in quotation marks to get exact phrases like "first amendment"
  • try synonyms and variations; use the word OR between them, like college OR university 
  • use the minus symbol to exclude unrelated words, like Abraham -Lincoln (if you want Abraham from the Bible)
  • use the word AROUND to indicate words should be near each other in the results, like Covid AROUND lockdown
  • Use an asterisk star * to take the place of missing or unknown words in a phrase
  • Search site: then your key words (no spaces) if looking for a website title.
  • Search intext: then your key words if looking for it in the text of the website, not the title.
  • You do not need to use AND or parentheses with Google
  • Also, note that even if you don't use OR, it will treat the various terms as options--you can enter a lot of terms
  • You don't need to use an asterisk at the end of a word to bring up different word endings as Google does that already

    Great Uses for Google: You can find background information or basic terminology on your topic through regular Google, as well as religious websites, free archives & e-books, newspaper & magazine articles, think tanks, open-access academic sources, and government sources. Remember to use discernment and that a lot of websites are biased, promotional, or non-credible.

Required Video: How to Do Research

Finding Newspaper & Magazine Articles

Learn More With Brief Videos

The librarians have made many short videos, which are posted on our YouTube channel, that explain the best ways to use our tools.  

Scripture: Pursuing Wisdom

Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. (Proverbs 4)