Posts Tagged ‘Research’

Fear Blank Pages No More!

The New Year is here. If one of your resolutions is to make research easier, take a look at our newest product: ProQuest Research Companion.


Credit: ProQuest

In the age of readily-available information, researchers often find themselves staring at a blank page. Many students say that the most difficult part of their research assignment is just getting started.

Likewise, librarians and educators often don’t have more than brief “one shot” sessions with students to teach them the effective research skills necessary to be successful in their academic research.

How could this logjam break free?

Let ProQuest Research Companion guide the way through practical tools and learning videos.

Learn more at the Product Research Companion product page.

Or better yet, try it for yourself with a free trial.



Leading Issues for Middle School

Junior high/middle school students may be challenged by research since they are in the process of developing critical thinking skills. They may feel ill equipped to navigate the Internet’s sea of information and can easily get lost in an information overload of sources that may be over their reading level, incorrect or even inappropriate.

SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues is the solution for Middle School students to navigate the research process step by step with content that matches their reading level.

Each Leading Issue models a logical argument with a topic overview to understand the basics, an essential question that poses a position and yes/no articles to support each side. Each Leading Issue also contains terms to know, quotes, statistics, and critical thinking questions as tools to fully analyze their selected issue. Lexile

As students dig deeper in content related to their topic, they will find balanced viewpoints to effectively support any argument. Articles and graphics are vetted from a variety of media for appropriate content and can be sorted according to Lexile level.

Middle School students will have no trouble selecting an issue of interest to them personally with choices such as Cyberbullying, Fracking, School Uniforms and Cell Phones in School.

Let SIRS Issues Researcher be the go-to resource to help to make difficult topics accessible and customizable for any middle school student.

Balancing the Humanities and STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and the humanities all contribute to a strong education.

The decline of the humanities has been widely publicized. Federal funding for the humanities has been dwindling for years. And with funding for STEM rising, many teachers of the humanities are feeling defensive. But the war between STEM and the humanities implies a one-or-the-other choice when they should, in fact, coexist.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach to STEM and the humanities is a useful way to prepare students for any career. Jobs do not exist in a vacuum. Students will need to master a variety of skills regardless of the field. Teachers of the humanities can help by integrating STEM into assignments that also promote traditional humanities values such as communication and critical thinking.

iThink Tutor

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher offers ways to integrate technology and critical thinking. While exploring the controversial Leading Issues of our day, students will gain valuable experience doing research using an online database. They will find interactive tools like iThink Tutor to help guide their research. And, of course, they will find editorially selected articles that include news, statistics, and viewpoints to help them support their arguments.

An interdisciplinary approach to classroom assignments will help students hone a variety of skills simultaneously. The choice between STEM and the humanities is a false one. They all contribute to well-rounded students.

We’d love to hear from you! How do you take an interdisciplinary approach to education?

Anatomy of a Leading Issue

SIRS Issues Researcher offers in-depth analysis of more than 330 current and pervasive Leading Issues. Each Leading Issue offers various components to help users understand the issue from every angle. Let’s take a look at each component:

Leading Issue

Screencap of a Leading Issue via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

 Topic Overview: An editorially created summary provides the foundation for understanding every Leading Issue by examining the background and history of the issue and putting it in context. From the Topic Overview page, users can also access “Terms to Know” and “Additional Resources” including significant organizations, key figures and milestone events surrounding the issue.

 At Issue Summary: This summary also provides a foundation for understanding an issue by zeroing in on a narrower issue within the context of a larger issue. From the At Issue page, users can also access Perspectives—quotes from prominent figures—and Critical Thinking & Analysis questions.

 Essential Questions: These questions engage researchers by narrowing down a broad issue and helping users understand the specific issue under debate. Each Essential Question offers answers and Viewpoint articles which support both sides of an issue.

 Timeline: An editorially curated timeline provides historical context by highlighting key events and milestones surrounding the issue.

● Global Impact & Statistics: These two features broaden student comprehension by examining an issue from a non-U.S. perspective and by providing data that users can analyze and compare.

These are just a sampling of the special features that SIRS Issues Researcher offers. With access to full-text articles, multimedia and graphics, SIRS covers Leading Issues from the pro to the con and everything in between.

Need Research Topics?

Research is part of the curriculum at every level. Often the most difficult part of research is getting started and deciding on a topic of a paper or project. Regardless if a student is in middle school, high school, or community college, ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher has a topic for them.

As Butte College Library explains in their helpful video, the 330+ Leading Issues can be easily browsed by topic name. Then to discover a topic of interest, a student can drill down to get more information.

Clicking on any topic in the A-Z list will bring students to a topic overview, timeline, related viewpoint articles, and other features.

Scaffolded Instruction: Leading Issues are scaffolded for different learning needs. A middle school student may choose the majority of research from the topic overview and selected viewpoint articles whereas a high school or college student will start at the overview then dig deeper in the results list for more advanced informational text.

So have your students start their research the easy way with Leading Issues. Your next topic is just a click away.

Saving Documents in My List and My eLibrary

One of the handiest and most basic tools in eLibrary is My List, allowing you to select documents during research and collect them in a list that is then saveable in My eLibrary.

When you find a document that you want to save, just click the “Add to MyList” box beneath the document title in the search results or to the right of the title on the document screen.
Add to MyList circle 300

Add to MyList doc circle 450

To review your list, click “My List” in the toolbar in the top-right part of the screen. You will then see citations for all of your collected documents in a numbered list, along with options for editing, saving, sharing or printing it. One useful feature here is the ability to delete documents from the list, allowing you select documents freely while searching and then trim your list after further review.
My list page big small
You can permanently save a list by giving it a name in the “Save List to My eLibrary” box at the left or you can save the documents to an existing list. To save lists, you must be logged into your My eLibrary account, which can be accessed by clicking the My eLibrary button at the top of the screen. If you do not have a My eLibrary account, you can create one by filling in the information below the log-in area. Having a My eLibrary account also allows you to create timelines, slideshows and more.

Search-Friendly Tips for SIRS Discoverer Students

Dear Students Who Use SIRS Discoverer,

Do you know your research skills? Do you need some tips on the best ways to find information fast and effectively? Are you prepared to advance with technology? Let SIRS Discoverer direct you. There are a few different ways to approach a search in SIRS Discoverer to help you get the most out of your time. To help streamline the process and break it all down, here’s a list of tips that set each search method apart from one another. Let’s use Mexico as an example of a topic you’d like to know more about:

–Browse Subject Tree: This search function works best for narrowing down a broad topic to a more specific one. To know more about Mexico using this feature,  browse countries and then Mexico under topics on the right. This will display content that either references Mexico or is about Mexico including articles, reference entries, websites and graphics.

Browse Subject Tree Screencap via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Browse Subject Tree Screencap via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

–Keyword Search: Let’s say you had a more specific need and wanted to search the phrase: What is the language of Mexico? To find related content, type the actual phrase into the keyword search box (making sure to select keyword/natural language) without the question mark. A list of language-related results should appear.

Search Box Screencap via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Search Box Screencap via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

–Advanced Search: Do you know the title of the article you’re trying to find or the name of the author who wrote it? With advanced search, you can enter multiple search terms and find specific articles.

–Subject Heading Search: If you needed to know general information about Mexico quickly, searching by subject heading is a logical choice. Type the word Mexico into the search box and a list of related content will appear.

In case you need a refresher on any of these research tips, there’s a helpful guide embedded in SIRS Discoverer within the search box. The guide also provides tips on using quotations to search multiple words, why and & or are important in searching, and how an asterisk can expand your search results.

Where will your search lead you?


ProQuest Editors

CultureGrams — Teaching Activities: Turkey

Teachers looking to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative can find a great resource in CultureGrams. In the Teaching Resources area located in the lower right-hand corner of each country landing page, and at the bottom of each page, CultureGrams includes a link to sample teaching activities for all grades that follow Common Core, as well as national curriculum standards.


One example is the “Turkey: Europe or Asia?” activity, which correlates to standards for a multitude of subjects, including history, social studies, and geography. The activity helps students to understand the factors that influence how countries are grouped into regions.

  1. Divide the class into two debate teams: one that will argue that Turkey should be classified as part of Europe and another that will argue that it should be grouped with Asia. Select three students to be judges, making sure they are aware they must read both teams’ materials.
  2. For homework, assign all students to read the CultureGrams report for Turkey. Then, assign each team the reports from the two different regions. Team One will read selections from the Middle Eastern reports (Iran, Syria, Lebanon, etc.). Team Two will read selections from the European reports (Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, etc.).
  3. Instruct the students that they may want to skim the CultureGrams reports assigned to the opposite teams in order to anticipate their opponent’s arguments. Remind the judges to read the assignments for both teams.
  4. In class, give each team time to prepare and organize its arguments.
  5. Divide the board in half and have each time write the group’s main arguments on it.
  6. Have a spokesperson from each team explain the group’s arguments (without responding to what the other team has written on the board).
  7. Give the teams time to consult and come up with rebuttals, while reinforcing their initial arguments. A different spokesperson from each team delivers the rebuttals to the class, with help from team members who raise their hands to offer additional comments.
  8. The class judges decide which team wins and justify their decision to the class.

Find more ideas for this teaching activity, as well as dozens more activities, on CultureGrams. Have you used a teaching activity? Leave a comment to share your experience and ideas with us!