Online Resources

Social Issue Resources


Full text of more than 600 subject-specific encyclopedias, biographies, chronologies and dictionaries — all from well-respected publishers

Tutorials »

A collection of ebooks on various subjects.

A collection of premier reference books that you can view and search online. You can search a single book, within a subject or across the library’s entire book collection.

Tutorials »

From immigration to stem cells to texting while driving, Opposing Viewpoints in Context delivers more than 13,000 pro/con views, over 1,000 court case overviews and thousands more topic overviews, biographies and profiles.

Tutorials »

Containing resources that present multiple sides of an issue, this database provides rich content that can help students realize and develop persuasive arguments and essays, better understand controversial issues and develop analytical thinking skills.

Tutorial »


This book explains how these processes of being born as an American citizen and becoming naturalized as an adult work.

In the run-up to the 2016 national election, many issues involving election law have come to the fore. This volume will explore such timely topics as campaign finance and the corporate funding of elections in the aftermath of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (2010), which opened the door to unlimited corporate and private funding of candidates in federal elections. The volume will also investigate the effects of SCOTUS’s ruling to roll back various aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, allowing states to make their own election laws–including instituting voter ID laws and cancelling early voter registration–without federal oversight. Other important issues under discussion include the rise of one-party domination of state government and the subsequent, unprecedented gerrymandering of districts; the use of initiatives and referendums to mobilize political bases; and the changing uses of social media in campaigns. Articles will also examine the rise of political dissidents both inside and outside the two major parties.

This year’s debate topic will focus on the issue of criminal justice reform. Central points include sentencing issues—mandatory minimums, truth in sentencing laws, and racial disparities; policing reform, including the role of police vs. social workers and health care workers as well as police brutality; reducing overcriminalization, particularly of drug possession; the War on Drugs as a cause of mass incarceration; a focus on rehabilitation vs. punishment in prisons; and juvenile justice reform.

Education Reform is the focus of the National Forensics League’s 2017-2018 Policy Debate. Articles discuss different strategies in reforming primary and secondary education in the U.S.

The Encyclopedia of American Social Movements is the first major reference work on the subject that seeks to examine these movements in all their complexity, power and significance.

Encyclopedia of Sociology2nd ed., 5v, 2001

This classic reference has been updated to reflect many changes in society and in the field of sociology in recent years. Articles covering core issues such as race, poverty, violence, economics, pregnancy and abortion have been updated and expanded, and completely new articles have been written on topics such as the Internet, privacy and epidemiology.

This book discusses epidemics and pandemics, their impact on public health, and how they shape and are shaped by political, economic, and social forces. It offers historical and contemporary examples and case studies. It explains what an epidemic is, how it emerges and spreads, what diseases might become epidemics, how they are tracked/prevented/combated, impacts of such factors as air travel and antibiotic resistance, and roles played by public health agencies and the media.

This work covers a broad range of issues. It highlights the contemporary issues that affect societies around the world. Its emphasis of coverage in each chapter is less on the technical and conceptual aspects of the issue at hand and more on its social ramifications.

A national debate continues to rage in regard to 2nd amendment rights in contemporary society. This collection will deal with concerns about domestic violence committed by guns, the ramifications of a widely armed citizenry, the government’s failure to pass comprehensive gun legislation, as well as police brutality, strong gun lobbies, open carry laws, home-grown terrorism, the recent rise of fatal shootings of black men by police, and the Orlando massacre. From domestic terrorism to the Black Lives Matter movement articles in this title reflect differences in policy views on the subject in the longstanding debate around gun rights and gun control.

This volume focuses on the recent increase in hate crime in the United States, touching on recent mass shootings, the role of the president and the government in preventing hate crime, and recent outreach programs to schools and educators by the FBI and other organizations in the wake of rising hate crime incidents in our schools. It also discusses hate crime law, hate crime vs. hate speech, and the increase in hate-based international violence, which raises the issue of human-rights violations.

America’s role as a refuge for the world’s downtrodden and politically persecuted has become part of a coalescing sense of patriotism and American identity. However, immigration is also a complex, controversial issue, and immigration policy and public opinion on the issue were deeply influenced by racism, xenophobia, and fear. For as much as many Americans embraced the nation’s role as a home for political asylees and took patriotic pride in the nation’s cultural diversity, immigrants have also been consistently targeted and maligned as potentially dangerous, economically detrimental, and culturally destructive. With each generation, there have been some who favor isolationism, retaining America’s economic and social bounty for those born in the nation, rather than spreading the benefits of American citizenship among new generations of immigrants. Reconciling the nation’s ideological role with the financial and social burden of immigration is the underlying challenge behind the immigration debate, and it is a struggle that has been part of the nation’s history since the beginning.

From the controversy surrounding Edward Snowden’s security leak of classified information, to hacked email accounts of prominent political candidates, internet privacy and cyber security present major ethical issues in today’s technology-centric society.

This issue of Reference Shelf explores evolving cyberlaw pertaining to such issues as data privacy, freedom of expression, intellectual property, e-commerce, and contract law. Free and open source software licensing raises questions regarding developer’s liability and trade secrets. Recent advances in surveillance and tapping and in computerized voting technology have also raised many legal issues. The jurisdiction of cyberlaw—should the Internet be treated as a physical space?—is yet another layer. Issues of net neutrality are also considered.

Issues explored in this title include the role of non-traditional same-sex families, and expanded protections for transgender people under the framework of civil rights.

This work examines the world’s indigenous peoples, their cultures, the countries in which they reside, and the issues that impact these groups. It highlights the complex relationships between native groups and the physical and social environments in which they live

Islands of plastic waste, chemicals from everyday products and prescription drugs, and farm animal waste are all contributing to the destruction of our environment and climate change. Such issues, and the difficulty of solving them, are the subject of this Reference Shelf.

This collection explores different views on the causes of and potential solutions to the long-term risks of prescription drug abuse.

This edition of Reference Shelf looks at propaganda and misinformation. Social media posts inciting sectarian violence, government-manipulated misinformation campaigns, for-profit fake news headlines, and well-meaning but gullible individuals promoting conspiracies point up the problems with our current media environment.

Race is a complex phenomenon, both biological and sociological, involving the development and maintenance of human subgroups. From an evolutionary perspective, all humans belong to a single species, Homo sapiens. Over thousands of years of isolation and independent development, different groups of humans evolved to have different physical characteristics, forming the basis of what humans later called “race”. Because all humans are the same species, the physical differences between individuals in different “racial” groups are largely superficial physical variations rather than substantial genetic variations. However, amplified through cultural divergence, these minor physical differences in the human body have fueled some of the most influential, destructive, and creative events in human history.

Representative American Speeches 2014-2015 reflects current trends in American thought, from uplifting commencement speeches delivered on campuses of U.S. colleges and universities to biting political speeches from the halls of Congress.

Representative American Speeches 2015-2016 reflects current trends in American thought, from uplifting commencement speeches delivered on campuses of U.S. colleges and universities to biting political speeches from the halls of Congress.

Selected from a diverse field of speakers and venues, this volume offers some of the most engaging American speeches of the year.

The most memorable speeches from a variety of speakers are discussed in this issue, allowing an opportunity to analyze the year’s most pressing and controversial topics. Speakers from many walks of life are featured, including education, politics, science and research, and popular culture.

In the twenty-first century, working culture has been heavily influenced by technological innovation. The computing boom of the 1990s created a wealth of new occupations and modes of productivity, while simultaneously making a host of once common occupations rare or obsolete. There has also been a shift in priorities in the United States since the 2000s, with an emergent focus on well-being and fulfillment in the workplace and a simultaneous surge of interest in ways to make the workplace more creative and innovative. The 2000s have also seen a vast expansion of many industries thanks to the opening of international markets through the Internet and thus, many formerly isolated companies now have the potential to compete in global markets. While the advent of the Digital Age has seen numerous world-changing innovations that have modernized the working world, arguably for the better, persistent economic and social inequities remain and present a challenge for those looking to create better, more egalitarian, or more harmonious futures.

An encyclopedia of the social issues, movements, conditions and policies of the United States

Surveillance is a key feature of modern American life. Toll booths monitor drivers on the interstate, and social media gather information from users for marketing data. Many people are unaware that when they use websites like Google and Amazon they enter into an agreement that allows retailers to track them for commercial purposes. In the name of national security, the government gathers information on most citizens. Surveillance, particularly government surveillance, constitutes one of the great social and legal tensions of the twenty-first century. How do we embrace technology’s magnificent, egalitarian promise of equal access to information for all citizens and use state-of-the-art surveillance tactics that can promote safe communities while also upholding traditional civil liberties and individual privacy?

This encyclopedia is as an essential resource for those engaged in independent research, and professionals whose work involves caring for the dead, dying, and bereaved. It will also be of great interest to general readers intrigued by the social, medical, and cultural dimensions to human mortality. It offers a highly relevant examination of the social and historical variation in the rituals, practices, and beliefs surrounding the end of life.

The Digital Age challenges us to understand not only the great potential good offered by modern digital technology but its negative consequences.

This resource covers the entire spectrum of psychology, including: notable people, theories and terms; landmark case studies and experiments; applications of psychology in advertising, medicine and sports; and career information.

This encyclopedia aids readers in understanding the full scope and diversity of theories, approaches and techniques and how they address various life events within the unique dynamics of families, couples and related interpersonal relationships.

This book explores the Supreme Court from a variety of perspectives, beginning with how the court does its work and proceeding to look at the current court: the individual justices, their complex interactions with and influences on their colleagues, their jurisprudence — that is, the principles and philosophies that govern their thinking — and how their opinions, concurrences, and dissents not only apply constitutional law but shape it. Faith in the integrity of the justices is of the utmost importance to the court’s legitimacy in the eyes of the public. As the Pew Research Center’s analysis has shown, citizens may approve or disapprove of the court depending on some combination of their personal circumstances — education and religious beliefs, for example — and their political persuasion. If we are to maintain a functioning democracy “under law,” however, disapproval cannot spill over into a full-fledged loss of confidence in the court’s legitimacy, for the court “says what the law is,” as Marshall reminds us.

After a half-century of economic stagnation and population loss, signs of an American urban renaissance have become evident in the 2010s. Long maligned as dangerous and polluted, cities have in recent years experienced dropping crime rates and are increasingly popular as laboratories for sustainable development. Though the revitalization trend is new and potentially transient, city planners, administrators, politicians, and urban activists are enthusiastically embracing this increase in popularity and promoting cities as vibrant centers for diversity, cultural exchange, and social/political innovation.

U.S. – China Relations examines the National Forensic League’s 2016/2017 Policy Debate resolution: “The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.” This volume will explore various issues related to this complex debate – from reforming aspects of U.S./China trade to assisting China in negotiating ongoing concerns over Taiwan and Tibet, improving human rights conditions, and protecting the rights of indigenous populations within China. Other questions explored will include how to better understand and manage China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea and other parts of Asia, how to work with China to develop sustainable energy and resource policies, and how best for the countries to assist one another in confronting the threat posed by terrorism worldwide. Myriad economic considerations – from labor to inflation and currency exchange – will also be examined in order to give a broad picture of this multifaceted matter.

This volume contains a broad array of whistleblowing. Key topics include privacy rights, legal freedom, the nature of dissent, and matters concerning the media. Whether reading about the high-profile cases of Snowden and Manning or cases that will never reach the Supreme Court, the reader will discover a broad spectrum of opinion on these issues, issues that are certain to continue to dominate the national discourse.