Composition 102

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Topics and Background Information (Reference Resources)

These pages was developed to provide Composition 102 Students with several selected resources for getting ideas and starting on their research assignments.

Getting Ideas and Background Information

The selected reference databases and book series listed below are on contemporary and/or controversial issues. Browse or search them to find or narrow a topic. The library's reference resources provide you with authoritative and concise information.

Book Series (In the ORU library and some ebooks)
The series links below go to the library catalog records, which may include detailed content, pros and cons, argumentative questions, and more. Use the links to get ideas for a research topic, narrow a topic, or show relationship between several topics.

Contemporary World Issues Series
Contemporary World Issues
(38 titles)
Opposing Viewpoints
Opposing Viewpoints and
Opposing Viewpoints Unnumbered
(130+ titles combined)
Includes bibliographies, as well as organizations.
Taking Side Series
Taking Sides
(17 titles)
Clashing views on controversial issues. More
Click a series title above > Click a book title from the list (to see book notes and chapter contents) > Record the call number to find it on the shelves in the library.
TIP: Use the library catalog "sort" option to put newest titles at the top of the list.


Reference Databases - Each reference database below has unique content. For example, the CQ Research provides comprehensive information on a topic while Points of View Reference supports both sides of a controversial issue with multiple types of formats, including academic journals, primary source documents, news briefs, and more. Use the databases to narrow your topic or just get ideas for your research assignment, as appropriate. (ORU = ORU database)

CQ Researcher star ORU - In-depth, non-biased and authoritative coverage of hundreds of current social and political "hot topics." Includes background information, chronology, maps, charts, issues, pros/cons and more. FAQs

Credo Reference ORU - ~667 reference books. Use the "mind map" or "topic pages" to explore, expand or narrow a topic. Example: pop culture topic pages include entries for a wide range of social and cultural changes.

Pew Research Center star - Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World. Categories include: U.S. Politics, Media & News, Social & Demographic Trends, Religion, Internet & Tech, Hispanics, and Global.

Points of View Reference ORU - Current, controversial topics with multiple sides supported by articles, primary sources, news briefs, and more. Tutorial (6 mins.). Find out more -- Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues. Resources include primary source documents, statistical evidence, government research and documents, and more. See Debate Topics.

See Key Points: Getting Started library guide

Books and ebooks
When looking for books or ebooks, use broad keywords and subjects that identify your topic(s). In the library catalog, try a subject search for your topic then select from the subjects to view a list of book titles.
eBook titles are included in the library catalog with links to the ebook, but you may prefer to search an ebook database instead of using the library catalog.
Includes more than 70,000 academic ebooks from scholarly and professional publishers. Also includes ~110 Encyclopedias and ~230 Dictionaries.
Create a user bookshelf to store and annotate your selected books.
apps (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch)
Download options
Quick Start Guide
show/ hide View search strategies
To search the entire collection, type a simple search or click "Advanced" for multiple field and text box options.
To browse and/or search by specific subject area use the "All Subjects" link at the top of the ebrary page.
To narrow your title results list click a subject, or several subjects, at the top of the page.
To open the ebook, click the title or book jacket image.
To view the most relevant chapters from all the books, click the Chapter Results tab next to the Title Results tab.
To use the Text-to-speech function: After you have found a book, click the ebrary Reader button to open a book in ebrary's reader. Choose the "Speech" tab. Highlight text to be read or just click the "Read the selected text button" for the page to be read.
eBook Collection

How to Find Articles on Your Topic

Step 1: Choose a database.
EagleSearch - A discovery search tool that searches multiple databases, simultaneously.
Academic Search Complete— Largest academic, multi-disciplinary collection

  • Your EBSCOhost folder - Create a personal account Folder in EBSCO to add, store and manage articles you find for later use. See: My EBSCOhost Folders tutorial
  • Off campus - Use the Off-Campus Access link on the library page and your ORU network login. ( your username is your ORU email address minus
  • For other databases - Use the QuickLinks tab above, "Choose Databases" in EBSCO, or the database list.

Step 2: Key in your terms and Search.
Start with a simple keyword search then add terms that describe your concept(s), topic or subject. Use keywords from your thesis statement. Examples:

concept 1 AND concept 2
concealed AND handgun
concealed AND handgun AND "second amendment"
concealed AND handgun AND debat*

Depending upon the assignment, an effective search may also include some of the following descriptive terms:

advantage; benefit
argu* (searches: argue, argues, argued, argument, etc.)
compar* (-e, -ed, -s, -ison, -ing, -able); contrast
controvers* (y, -ial, -ies)
debate, debates
effect* (-s, -ed, -ive); impact*; influenc*; outcome*
issue, issues
positive; negative

"pros and cons"

Step 3: Evaluate your results -- sort and set limiters.
What are the assignment requirements?

  • Sort by date for the most recent articles to appear at the top of the list. Relevance is usually the default display, which may give you more full text articles at the top of the list.
  • Set limiters; set restrictions (date, peer reviewed, language, etc.)
  • Use subject headings and subject options.

Step 4: Evaluate the articles -- read, review and save.
Click the article title to view the detailed record.

  • Read the abstract, if available, to
    1) see if the content is relevant to your topic,
    2) look for additional key terms to search, and
    3) identify ways to narrow your topic.
  • Review the article bibliography for additional relevant resource. If you identify an article of interest, go to the A-to-Z Journals List, search for the journal title, and then follow the links to go to the issue date that you need.
  • Save articles to your EBSCOhost folder for later use and creating citations.

Step 5: Evaluate your search -- tweak and improve.

  • Change or edit your search to include other key concepts from your thesis. For examples, click the Sample Searches tab at the top of the page.)
  • Click Choose Databases in the EBSCO interface (shown below) to select and search additional databases simultaneously, or change to another database. Mark the databases then click Search to rerun the search in the newly selected database(s).
    EBSCO Choose Databases
    Use a subject research guide for subject databases, resources and search tips, or see the database list.

Step 6: Read full text.
Click HTML, PDF, Linked Full text or similar link. Or, click the Check for Full Text link to see if it is available elsewhere in the Library (i.e., in another database, hard-copy in the Library, microform). If an article is not available in full text in the library, the Interlibrary Loan service can get an item (for a small fee), but that is usually not necessary for the Composition 102 research assignment.

Step 7: Cite your sources.
Look for citation tools that allow you to copy, paste and then edit the citation in MLA format.

See also: Key Points: Search Strategies and How to Find Articles.

Sample Searches for "Popular Topics"

Click the sample search links below to go to the search and results. Change the search to match your topic. Set required limits, such as peer reviewed and date restrictions. Use the "Choose Databases" link to add or change databases to search. Remember to sign in to your personal folder to save your articles.

Need Help? Ask-A-Librarian

MLA Works Cited - Database Citation Tools

Most databases have tools that create citations in several formats, such as MLA, APA and Turabian. Try the tools listed below to copy/paste/edit citations, as needed to match your assignment requirements. The examples below are for resources frequently used by students for Composition 102 research. Always check the citation references for accuracy with the print style manual.

  • Books
  • Journal Articles (EBSCO folder)
  • CQ Researcher Online database

BOOKS in the ORU Library

If you use a book from the library, do a title keyword search in the library catalog, access the record, and then click How do I Cite this? (circled in the image below). Select the correct citation style (MLA) then copy/paste/edit the citation in your works cited list.

Library Catalog citation link Go there.


Author (Last name, First name). Title. City of publication: Publisher, year published. Medium of Publication.

Author, followed by a period.

Gerdes, Louise I.
Title, in italics. Cyberbullying.
City of publication, followed by a colon. Detroit:
Publisher, followed by a comma. Greenhaven Press,
Year published, followed by a period. 2012.
Medium of Publication, followed by a period. Print.
Gerdes, Louise I. Cyberbullying. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Print.


In an EBSCO database, such as Academic Search Complete, use the Cite link in the "Tools" menu on the right sidebar, (The "Tools" menu is only available on the item record; it is not on the results page.)

EBSCO citations Go there.


Author(s) (Last name, First name). "Article Title." Title of Journal. Volume.issue number (year of publication): page numbers. Name of Database. Medium of Publication. Date visited.

Author (authors).

Casas, José A., Rosario Del Rey, and Rosario Ortega-Ruiz.
Title of the article, in quotation marks. "Bullying and Cyberbullying: Convergent and Divergent Predictor Variables."
Title of the journal, in italics. Computers in Human Behavior
Volume and issue numbers, in Arabic numerals, separated by a period. (Do not add a period after the issue number.) 29.3
Year of publication, in parentheses and followed by a colon. (2013):
Inclusive page numbers of article. 580-587.
Name of database, in italics, ending with a period. Academic Search Complete.
Medium (Web), followed by a period. Web.
Date of your access. 13 May 2014.
Casas, José A., Rosario Del Rey, and Rosario Ortega-Ruiz. "Bullying and Cyberbullying: Convergent and Divergent Predictor Variables." Computers in Human Behavior 29.3 (2013): 580-587. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 May 2014.

(Note: Line indents are not applied in the above citation example. Refer to the MLA style manual for proper indentations.)


Find a topic then use the CiteNow! link, located above the issue title, to view the citation options. Note that the default style is APA so make sure to select the correct style for your assignment and course.

CQ Researcher citations Go there.


Article Author if given (Last name, First name). "Article Title." Name of Publication. Publication date (day mon. year), volume issue if given: page numbers. Name of Database. Medium of Publication. Date visited (day mon. year).


--no author is given--
Article title, in quotation marks. "Bullying."
Name of the publication, in italics. CQ Researcher.
Date published (day mon. year), followed by a colon. 15 June 2013:
Inclusive page numbers of article. --no page numbers given--
Name of database, in italics, ending with a period.
[Note: the publication and database name are the same so it is not necessary to include the database name. Follow your professor's instructions and requirements.]
CQ Researcher.
Medium of publication, followed by a period. Web.
Date visited. 13 May 2014.
"Bullying." CQ Researcher 15 June 2013. Web. 13 May 2014.
ebrary's Free "Open Access" Searchable Information Centers

The ebrary "open access" collections listed below feature a range of authoritative fact sheets, posters, ebooks, documents and other materials from government agencies and other authoritative sources.

Find Information About a Literary Writer

Primary Sources (Works BY the person)
Search the library catalog and/or databases.
Key in the person's name in the "author" field.

Secondary Sources (Information ABOUT the person)
Several resources and tips are provided below. Depending upon your subject, person or topic, other databases may have relevant articles.

  • Start with a general academic database then use subject databases.
  • Try a keyword search for the person's name; add other relevant terms.
  • Search the name several ways. For example, use AND between the first and last name.
  • Use the subject headings or thesaurus to look for a person as the subject.

See also: Biographical Information and Literature research guides

Biography in Context star
Key in the person's name. Once you find an article or entry, review the bibliography, or references, for other relevant resources.
To find an article listed in the references, use the A-to-Z Journals List, search the journal title and drill down to the date or issue you need.
To find a book title listed in the references, search the library catalog.)

Academic Search Complete star
Sample searches:

Dostoyevsky AND (history or life) AND influence (keyword search, 20 results)
ZP "dostoyevsky, fyodor, 1821-1881" (person subject search, 519 results)

Humanities International Complete star
Sample search:

ZP "dostoyevsky, fyodor, 1821-1881", 459 results

Literary Encyclopedia (Requires individual registration using ORU email)

Literary Index (Index to Gale Literary series)

Literary Reference Center star

MLA International Bibliography

Use the QuickLinks tab above to view and select from a database short list.

Search Strategies

Operator (Boolean)
Examples of key terms for searching
AND   Use to combine different terms and narrow the search. Produces FEWER results each time a term is added with AND.

children AND evangelism
children AND evangelism AND India

OR Use this operator to combine similar, or optional, terms and broaden the search. Most often produces MORE results.
(children OR child) AND (evangelism OR evangelize)
NOT Use to specify a term you do not want in the search results.

(children OR child) AND (evangelism OR evangelize) NOT school

Excludes results with school.

Truncation (*) Searches the ROOT of a word ended with *

child* AND evangel* NOT school

Searches: child, children AND evangel, evangelism, evangelical, evangelized, etc.

Use fewer concepts Increases number of results
child* AND evangel*
Use more concepts Decreases number of results
child* AND (outreach OR evangel*) AND inner AND city
Phrase Search Use quotation marks; Refines search
child* AND (outreach OR evangel*) AND “inner city” AND “New York”

Proximity Search:

NEAR: Finds words that occur "near" a specified range of each other. Use when only word RANGE is important.
inner city N5 new york

Searches: inner-city in New York or New York's inner city

Proximity Search:

WITH: Finds words that occur near a specified range of each other. Use when word ORDER and RANGE are important.

inner city W5 new york

Searches: inner-city in New York but not New York's inner city
Subject Field
Some database may include any or all three. Subject fields, indexes and thesauri are specific and unique to a database and its content. Respectively, they are used to divide information in related subjects, categorize and group database content, and offer collections of "controlled vocabulary" that includes synonyms, related terms, and narrower and broader terms.
Look for limiting options on the database search screen.
Examples: Full text • peer reviewed • date • related terms • language • subjects
Note about EBSCO databases The EBSCO search default is a proximity of five. If you do not use AND or OR, but just type in some keywords, the search will bring up results that include all the words within a five word word range of each other. (Stop words are excluded.)
Database QuickLinks

More Information = vendor's database description



The Web sites below are listed on other ORU library guides and have been added to this guide per student requests and inquiries.

Photosynth (Microsoft)
Explore, search, or share 3D views of museums, collections, historical places, parks, towers, bridges, and more. About
· Today's Front Pages -- 1,024 front pages from 88 countries. Newspapers are in the original language. Use the gallery, list, or map to find a newspaper front page.
· Exhibits and Theaters
· Past Online Exhibits and more.
oracle: The Student News Media of Oral Roberts University
Household Products Database (National Library of Medicine) - Fact Sheet
Tox Town (National Institute of Health)
A Geographic Information System (GIS) that helps users learn about toxic chemicals where you live, work, and play.
ToxMap: Environmental Health e-Maps (National Library of Medicine) - Fact Sheet
Composition 102 LIBBI: Research Tips and Tools (trifold PDF)