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GOVT 2305 | Federal Government

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For this essay you will address the various sides of the issues by drawing your own personal conclusions based on your own analysis of the issue and demonstrating an understanding of its complexities. You must identify and include any constitutional articles amendments where applicable. Also, include cases which apply to your topic. You must also compare and contrast the different viewpoints of sources used on your topic considering the limits of a position.

There are four choices in terms of topics for this paper: Abortion, Marijuana, the Death Penalty, and Voting Restrictions. Each paper must hit three key points regarding these topics. See your assignment instructions for the full list.

Length: 7-10 pages long

Citation Style: Chicago/Turabian Style

Number of Sources: 12

When you're doing any research it's important to be thorough and a bit sceptical when you're gathering your sources, especially internet sources. Don't take information at face value. This is doubly important when researching a current, controversial issue. Many things will be published first and fact-checked later, or they may be designed to sway opinion as fast as possible.

The file below has instructions on following the CRAAP Test, a checklist you can go though to determine the validity of the source you're looking at. With time and practice, it'll get easier and easier to know which sources are valuable and which are a waste of your time. Not sure if what you're looking at is good or not? Contact a librarian and we'll help!

Academic articles are a standby for research. Peer-reviewed articles have already gone through a vetting process, which makes them more trustworthy and more useful for your work. Once you learn to search for articles, using scholarly databases like these becomes faster and easier than most other avenues for research. Below is a short list of databases that may be especially helpful for this assignment. You can also see all of our databases HERE.

Something to remember: databases do not work like Google and other internet search engines! While search engines interpret, databases match. Sentences and questions are a no-go for a database. Instead, use short keywords in your search. The database is trying to match your keywords to the keywords attached to its articles. You can give it more context using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, and NOT are an example). View the video at the bottom of this section for a better rundown on Boolean Operators.

Books are the best resource for starting your research, they're on the whole more thorough and comprehensive than an article and are usually written for a general audience who doesn't know as much about the topic the book covers. 

Much like databases, our catalog works with keywords. Try to keep your search simple. You can also search within specific libraries or even just for eBooks. If you're not finding all of the eBooks you need, there are a few more options at the bottom of this section.

San Jacinto College Library Catalog

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Remember, you must cite any time that you use information from one of your sources. Even if the information is paraphrased or "put in your own words", it still needs to be cited.

Use this handout to help you with your citations:| Central Library: 281-476-1850 | Generation Park Campus: 281-998-6150 x8133 | North Library: 281-459-7116 | South Library: 281-998-6150 ext. 3306