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ProQuest :: SIRS Issues Researcher

ProQuest :: SIRS Issues Researcher

Proquest SIRS Issues Researcher is an online database that teachers can use to guide students through opposing viewpoints. It contains dozens of high-interest and relevant social issues to research and debate for middle and high school students like gun control, e-cigarette use, and racial profiling. On the main page trending topics are prominently displayed with a key graphic. Students can search by category or entering a search phrase. Once a topic is picked, both sides of the issue are given in a briefly written introduction. Three high-quality sources for each viewpoint are given for students to read and gather information from, as well as a search option to further expand the research. An interactive graphic timeline is given as well as guiding questions to consider. Using a... Show More

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Fernando Mergil
Fernando Mergil (Teacher (K-12))
2 weeks ago
I teach 8th grade English and this resource is one of the better ones for helping students through the research process. It is student-friendly and simple in design, requiring little upfront teaching of how to use. 360 current social issues are available for students to browse through either by category or through a search option. What I like most about SIRS Issues Researcher is that it removes the often difficult task of finding reliable sources so that students can spend most of their time reading and forming their positions. Although evaluating sources is a valuable skill, it can be so time consuming that students begin to lose motivation, frustrated, or settle in their searching. Once students select a topic to explore, they have a brief summary of the issue so that they can either decide to continue to the articles or keep looking. There are several areas where students can expand their search and find other topics of interest. When they start reading the articles, each comes with a Lexile level and a summary, along with related documents. There is an audio option if students prefer to listen to the article read to them. The six-page downloadable Research Guide ensures students are closely reading the material and making evidence-supported conclusions, preparing them up to the writing of the research paper. The Research Guide would be most effectively used if the teacher offers instruction on how to use it, and provides frequent feedback. A few downsides to the service is that it does not include any video sources which could support the need for differentiated instruction. Also, as much effort and attention to detail as was put into the Research Guide, it stops short of providing a graphic organizer and rubric for the actual research paper. This is certainly something the teacher can do, but it would make the service more comprehensive. A subscription is needed to use the service, which many teachers have access to and may not know it, as it usually is through district library services like Gale databases. Through the subscription, teachers also have access to training, webinars, and the opportunity to develop and submit their own content.
Used in course? Yes
Time spent reviewing site: 1 year
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