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New Leading Issues in Time for Spring Research Projects!

One of the biggest challenges for students in writing an argument or research paper is choosing a topic. SIRS Issues Researcher has this problem solved with 359 Leading Issues in our collection. The Leading Issues pro/con framework helps students pick a topic and understand its origins, related issues, global perspectives, and essential questions under debate. Top trending social issues are covered in-depth using best-of information compiled from thousands of global full-text and multimedia sources by our editorial team.

SIRS Issues Researcher’s Trending Pro/Con Leading Issues

Editors add to and update the Leading Issues collection regularly to ensure your students have access to the most relevant content. Here are the newest Leading Issues:

Electric Vehicles: Are electric vehicles better for the environment?

Religious Freedom Laws: Should religious exemptions be granted even if they infringe upon the rights of others?

Sexual Harassment: Is the #MeToo movement a catalyst for ending workplace sexual harassment?

The following Leading Issues have also been updated, and new Essential Questions added in some cases, to reflect the current focus of the controversy:

Birth Control Availability, Dating Violence/Date Rape, Distracted Driving, Federal Government and Economic Policy, Global Financial Crisis, Health Care Reform, Internet Censorship, Sovereignty, and Tobacco Advertising.

For beginning researchers, see the newest additions to SIRS Discoverer’s Pro/Con Leading Issues collection with age-appropriate content for upper elementary and middle school students:

SIRS Discoverer’s Pro/Con Leading Issues Landing Page

 

Concussions in Sports: Should sports leagues do more to prevent concussions?

Opioids: Is the prescribing of too many painkillers the cause of the opioid crisis?

What topics are most popular with your students? Let us know via Twitter that you are using #SIRS!

ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to think critically about current issues. Research made easy! Free trials are available.

Exploring the World with CultureGrams Data Tables


Data and statistics inform how we understand and interpret the world. Culture is no different. In addition to everyday life, culture is defined by broad forces, such as education and health care, which are evaluated using data and statistics.

We now live in a data-driven world. Curriculum standards are increasingly emphasizing data and statistical literacy. Students are expected to be able to find, analyze, and make inferences about data and statistics. CultureGrams helps students sharpen their data and statistical literacy skills and learn about the countries of the world at the same time.

Here are six benefits of using CultureGrams data tables to explore the world:

1. Facts. Data and statistics are facts that answer questions and support empirical reasoning.

Example: How much money does ______ spend on health care?

2. Insights. Data and statistics offer insights into how broad forces shape everyday life.

Example: How does healthcare spending affect people’s lives?

3. Comparisons. Data and statistics allow for fair comparisons between countries.

Example: How does ______’s healthcare spending compare to other countries?

4. Assumptions. Data and statistics challenge assumptions about a country.

Example: Does ______’s healthcare spending confirm or contradict what most people assume about this country?

5. Distortions. Data and statistics open discussions about whether or not they obscure or distort reality.

Example: Does ______’s healthcare spending correlate with health outcomes?

6. Conclusions. Data and statistics provide the basis for empirical conclusions.

Example: What does ______’s healthcare spending tell us about national priorities, cultural attitudes, and everyday life?

CultureGrams World, Kids, States, and Provinces Editions have sortable, printable, and downloadable data tables to help students understand the countries of the world. The data tables have dozens of data sets on topics such as population, economics, transportation, and education. And CultureGrams editors update these tables annually with the latest data available.

Graphs and Tables via CultureGrams

Graphs and Tables via CultureGrams


CultureGrams is a leading reference for concise and reliable cultural information on the countries of the world. Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.


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A Name You Should Know: Robert Smalls

Frederick Douglass. Sojourner Truth. Martin Luther King Jr. Rosa Parks. These names are in the pantheon of African American heroes. Each year during Black History Month their names are at the fore of many celebrations. Robert Smalls. His name is not well-known, or even known at all, but his contribution to black history is extraordinary and fascinating.

Robert Smalls Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Robert Smalls went from slave to naval captain to U.S. congressman by age 36. The story to his fame began in Charleston, South Carolina 13 months after the attack on Fort Sumter. Smalls was entrusted with piloting the CSS Planter, a Confederate military transport ship. He gained the confidence of the ship’s owners, and in doing so he began to plan an escape to the Union blockade about seven miles in the distance. On the early morning of May 13, 1862, Smalls stole the Planter after its three officers went ashore for the night leaving Smalls and his slave crew alone. Donning the captain’s straw hat and employing the signals he had memorized, Smalls steered the Planter to another wharf where his family and the families of the other crew were waiting. Sailing past five fortified Confederate posts, Smalls’ plan succeeded as the Planter made it to the Union without incident. At just 23 years old, Robert Smalls delivered 16 men and women to freedom and gave critical Confederate defense information to the Union. A reporter hailed it “one of the most daring and heroic adventures” of the Civil War.

Robert Smalls’ story did not end there. Hailed a hero, he was able to lobby the federal government for the enlistment of black soldiers in the Union war effort and reportedly recruited almost 5,000 men himself. He lead the Planter in 17 battles and eventually became her captain. He was the highest-ranking African American officer in the Union Navy. After the war, he became a leader during Reconstruction in the Republican Party. He was elected to the South Carolina legislature and later to the U.S. House of Representatives five times. One of his key initiatives was ensuring free education for all children.

Whether known for their activism or heroism, here are a few other names you should know. Honor them by sharing their stories with others not only during Black History Month but throughout the year.

Bessie Coleman

Hiram Revels

Dorothy Height

Nat Love

Daisy Bates

Guion Bluford

ProQuest’s eLibrary is an excellent resource for students wanting to learn more about African American history and achievement. The new eLibrary platform makes searching easy with its visually appealing Common Assignments and Subject trees. Also, make sure to look at the Editor’s Picks which are focused on Research Topics related to Black History Month. This new feature will change frequently so check back to see what’s new.

Don’t have eLibrary? Request a free trial.

New West Bank and Gaza Interviews on CultureGrams

CultureGrams recently added three new faces to the Interviews collection. So far, CultureGrams features over 400 interviews that represent the perspectives and life experiences of people from all around the world. Interview responses are edited for clarity and comprehension but CultureGrams editors try to preserve the original voice and thoughts of the interviewees. They are a reflection of how those individuals see their lives and the countries and cultures they live in. Over the years interviewees have shared with us their happiest moments, greatest hopes, and their biggest challenges in life.

Here are just a few of those insights from our most recent additions:

Sami, age 17, Gaza City, Gaza

“As a citizen living in Gaza, which has been under siege for the last 10 years, my biggest worry is that I can’t travel abroad to study. I am a diligent student and I have the potential to achieve my dreams, but being restricted here in Gaza will be a barrier. Even if I finish my studies in Gaza, I will not be able to find work easily here. We are almost 2 million people in a closed area with limited resources. I am so worried about all the opportunities that could be available for guys my age but that we can’t access because we are in Gaza.”

 

Ahlam, age 37, Ramallah, West Bank

“Back then, girls’ education was a luxury in my town. My grandmother took her [my mother] out of school after she finished her fourth year. Despite that, my mother could read very well, but her writing skills were not as good as her reading skills. Gauging by her exceptional logical and mathematical intelligence, I always believed that my mother would have become a great scholar if she could have finished her schooling and gone to college. When I finished high school, my family’s financial situation was so fragile that my chance to start college could have been delayed. I remember how my mother was so eager and tried really hard to lend me money to register at college and did the same with the rest of my siblings. She made our education her priority. My parents even supported my sisters with their college expenses even after they got married.”

 

Mohamed, age 63, Gaza City, Gaza

“The most significant event was the marriage of my oldest son. I couldn’t expect how I’d feel as a father on that day. His wedding was outside Gaza, and because of the siege and the fact that we couldn’t leave Gaza easily, the marriage ceremony had been postponed several times, and then finally we decided to hold the ceremony even if we couldn’t attend. My oldest son would have been alone without any member of his family. That would have been tragic. But thanks to God, one week before the wedding, the Egyptian border was opened and I was able to cross after spending two days at the border. I attended the wedding with my daughter, as she works with the USAID organization and can be granted a permit to travel. My wife and the rest of the family joined us through online video streaming.”

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more interviews coming in 2018, which we will highlight here on the blog. Until then, discover more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.

Fact Sheet: Political Divisiveness in the Classroom

This is the latest in a series of posts on teaching controversial political issues to students. The previous post in this series discussed how to support inclusion when teaching controversial political issues.


Has the toxic U.S. political climate spread to the classroom? Yes, according to a recent UCLA survey, which asked public high school teachers how the divisive national political environment has affected the classroom environment. Here are a few highlights:

Stress and anxiety. The current political climate has increased stress and anxiety for both students and teachers. Teachers reported that over half of all students have experienced more stress and anxiety. Among teachers, the numbers are worse: nearly 68 percent of teachers have reported more work-related stress and anxiety.

Classroom environment. Polarization, incivility, and fake or unsubstantiated news have become more common in the classroom. More than 20 percent of teachers reported an uptick in contentious or disrespectful behavior during class discussions. Nearly 28 percent said that derogatory remarks about other groups have increased. And more than 40 percent of teachers stated that students are introducing fake or uncorroborated news more often than in the past.

Leadership. Overall, leaders in schools and school districts have done little to temper the current political climate. Only 27 percent of teachers said they received direct guidance and support from school or district leaders on how to foster civil discourse and understanding in school.

Even though political divisiveness has infiltrated classrooms across the United States, the survey also identified some positive trends. Many teachers stated that they are working to promote civil discourse and understanding, demonstrating that teachers are taking the lead to address these issues. The survey also found that the politically divisive climate has made students more politically engaged, which is both an aim and a benefit of teaching controversial political issues. And perhaps more than anything else, the survey has highlighted the pressing need for political and information literacy.

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SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.

Celebrate Black History Month 2018 with eLibrary’s Editor’s Picks

2018 Black History Month Poster (Credit: Association for the Study of African American Life and History )

 

February is Black History Month in the United States. Created in 1926 as Negro History Week by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Black History Month is not only a time of celebration of the achievements and contributions of the African American community, but it also brings attention to the African American experience in the United States.

The ASALH continues what Dr. Woodson started by focusing on a different theme for Black History Month every year. The theme for 2018 is African Americans in Times of War which coincides and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  African American men and women have served in every war from the War of Independence to the War on Terror. Take a look at the new eLibrary Editor’s Picks as it pays tribute to those African Americans who served — those who served in the Armed Forces as well as those who served their communities.

eLibrary Editor’s Picks via ProQuest eLibrary

Featured Editor’s Picks include African Americans in the Civil War and both World Wars I and II. These Research Topics will lead your students to information with which they may not be familiar — the pioneering 54th Massachusetts Infantry in the Civil War and the 369th Infantry Harlem Hellfighters in World War I and the persistence of segregation in the military during World War II. As students scroll through the carousel, they will find the fascinating story of Robert Smalls, a 23-year-old slave who stole a Confederate ship, navigating his family and crew to freedom. He would later serve the Union in the Army and Navy and South Carolina as a Congressman in the United States House of Representatives. There is General Colin Powell, retired four-star U.S. Army general. He served his country in war, and he was the first African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Secretary of State. Unrelated to the theme but also featured are the inspiring lives of Madame C.J. Walker and Mae Jemison. Madame C.J. Walker used her marketing skills to create a cosmetics and hair care empire in the early 20th century. Her business helped to serve and empower African American women. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel to space in 1992. She also served as a doctor, college professor, Peace Corps worker and an advocate for science education for minority students.

Teachers and students: Make sure to check Editor’s Picks regularly because they will change frequently. Featured Research Topics related to monthly celebrations like Black History Month, significant events, anniversaries and people will be highlighted. Other times the picks will complement the Trending Research Topics. Research Topics are curated and created by editors with students in mind to use as a “jumping-off” point into the wonderful world of research.

eLibrary’s Editor’s Picks are but a small sample of the Research Topics related to black history. eLibrary offers a plethora of information and sources on many important people, stories and events in the African American experience.

Don’t have eLibrary? Request a free trial.

 

Top 10 Leading Issues of 2017

SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues is a go-to source for pro/con, debate, and argument assignments. Over the past year, students gravitated to these top 10 Leading Issues and their Essential Questions of debate.

SIRS® Issues Researcher provides background and current analysis necessary for the research and understanding of 356+ current and pervasive Leading Issues. Analysis and opinions cover the pros, cons, and everything in between on the most researched and debated social issues. To learn more about SIRS Issues Researcher, see our LibGuide. You can also request a trial.

eLibrary Completely Transforms on Thursday!

 

Oh My Gosh – It’s only 48 hours away!

On Thursday, December 14th, elibrary.bigchalk.com will become explore.proquest.com.

This isn’t just a fresh coat of paint. eLibrary has been completely re-imagined and redesigned to more efficiently guide students to identify their research topic and find authoritative information to support their research claim. Get ready for:

Highly Visual Navigation: Users are shown our curated Research Topics front and center!

Easy Topic Selection: Students can browse through simplified Subject and Common Assignment trees to help them with the most stressful research task – choosing a topic.

Streamlined Feature Set: There’s now more focus on tools that researchers actually use, like citation generation and Google integration.

More Efficient Search Engine: Users will find relevant content faster.

Responsive Design: The new eLibrary is optimized for use on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Cross-Search: Hosting on the award-winning ProQuest platform allows simultaneous searching with other ProQuest databases.

The eye-popping, curiosity-sparking look and feel of the new eLibrary very cleverly disguises what continues to be a powerful tool that will engage your students in research.

Click here to learn more about the new elibrary!

 

New eLibrary Coming December 14th!

 

On December 14th, eLibrary will deliver stress-free researching to your library. The date is coming fast, and we couldn’t be more excited! Here are some reasons for you to get excited too:

Highly Visual Navigation: Users are shown our curated Research Topics front and center!

Easy Topic Selection: Students can browse through simplified Subject and Common Assignment trees to help them with the most stressful research task – choosing a topic.

Streamlined Feature Set: There’s now more focus on tools that researchers actually use, like citation generation and Google integration.

More Efficient Search Engine: Users will find relevant content faster.

Responsive Design: The new eLibrary is optimized for use on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Cross-Search: Hosting on the award-winning ProQuest platform allows simultaneous searching with other ProQuest databases.

The eye-popping, curiosity-sparking look and feel of the new eLibrary very cleverly disguises what continues to be a powerful tool that will engage your students in research.

Click here to learn more about the new elibrary!

Let’s Debate…Libraries vs. the Internet

Libraries have long been considered the premier houses of information; librarians, the keepers, and distributors of knowledge. The advent of technology–and with it, the Internet–has slightly shifted this perspective, particularly over the last two decades. Students and researchers now have a choice: “Do I research in the library? Or on the Internet?”

Both hold value, thus the debate. And the decision may not be an either/or answer.

What are your feelings about this topic? Is one more worthwhile than the other? Can one be replaced with the other? To explore the pros and cons, check out the Let’s Debate infographic below.

Libraries v. the Internet infographic

 

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