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This research guide will point you toward print/online research resources and strategies available to you for your Research Paper Assignment in this First Year Seminar. Use this guide throughout the research process to help you have the best support

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Sally Bryant
Payson Library
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General Information

Finding Articles

Subject Specific Databases:  

News - if you need primary sources or your person is currently active you may find news articles and magazine exposè helpful 

Evaluating Sources

Scholarly v. Popular

A scholarly publication is one in which the content is written by experts in a particular field of study - generally for the purpose of sharing original research or analyzing others' findings. Scholarly work will thoroughly cite all source materials used and is usually subject to "peer review" prior to publication.


POP aim to inform a wide array of readers about issues of interest and are much more informal in tone and scope. Examples include general news, business and entertainment publications such as Time Magazine, Business Weekly, Vanity Fair.

Note, special interest publications which are not specifically written for an academic audience are also considered "popular" i.e., National Geographic, Scientific American, Psychology Today.

A Popular and Scholarly take on the same subject... 

Look at the attached articles from Peace and Conflict Studies  and National Geographic about Ivory funding terror. how are similar, how are they different? 

Research Assignments

Banks: Select a leader of social movement. 

People (use biographical information to learn about the movement)

  • -Ayaan Hirisi Ali
  • -Martin Luther King
  • -César Chávez

Movement (use information about the movement to learn about the activists)

  • The Labor Movement 1930s
  • The Civil Rights Movement 1955-1968
  • The Anti-War Movement 1965-1973
  • The Environmental Movement 1950s- Present
  • The Temperance Movement 1851-1933


Paper 2: Choose an issue relate to social justice and persuade the reader that she/he should care about this issue. Make a strong case for your argument.

Research Paper: In this you will choose an activist from a major American/International social movement and locate that person within the movement. Your paper will be both analysis of the movement (its major themes and struggles) as well as a way to spotlight ways in which the spiritual journey of the person influenced his/her activism.