The Opposing Viewpoints database is great for getting information about multiple sides of an issue. I would recommend looking up your topic in this database to see what different subject-matter experts have to say about it. It can help you strengthen your arguments and open up new avenues of research.
The CQ Researcher database is helpful for checking on current issues. In this database, I would recommend using quotation marks to enclose any search terms you want to find. For example, if you search for "first amendment" you will get some good results from 2021 on First Amendment topics including hate crimes, union dues, domestic terrorism, and the Boy Scouts.
Once you have an idea about what topic you'd like to research, you can start searching for news articles about it. These databases cover a lot of material, so it will be helpful to use the filters on the left side of the screen. These filters help you eliminate information you don't need so you can focus on the most helpful results. For example, I would recommend limiting your search by date. Unless you're looking for historical information, I would limit the search to the last few years.
CSM students, faculty, and staff can register for unlimited access to both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal
These databases will help you find academic articles about your topic. For example, the U.S. History in Context database would be a good place to search for information on the Pledge of Allegiance topic. CSM subscribes to many databases. This is just a small sample to get you started. If you have any trouble using the databases contact me or chat with any of the librarians on our virtual reference desk.
Encyclopedias can give helpful background information on people and issues. For example, if you search for "first amendment" you will get a nice explanation of what it is and how it fits into the U.S. Constitution. I find that the Britannica encyclopedia gives a much longer and more thorough explanation, while Funk and Wagnalls gives an excellent basic explanation. They're both helpful in different ways, depending on what kind of information you want. If you're new to a topic, Funk and Wagnalls is a great place to start.
To access databases from off-campus, go to the CSM website and find the database. Click on the database title. You'll likely end up on a page that looks like this:
Click the "Login with OneLogin" using your school OneLogin credentials. Contact the library if you have any trouble.