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LAR101: What in the World?!?

This guide will help you complete research for the LAR101 course What in the World?!?

Finding Background Information

Once you have thought of a broad topic you would like to research, it is a good idea to read some background information about that topic. Getting an overview of the topic can give you perspective of how it fits in context with other related concepts. The databases listed below are like virtual encyclopedias and give you a good place to start finding background information. Check out our full list of reference databases by visiting our A-Z Database listing. You can also start gathering background information using open web tools like Google or Wikipedia, as long as you critically evaluate the sources you find.

As you read, it is a good idea to keep a list of common words used to describe your topic - these will help you as you start to search in subject specific databases!

Contemporary World Issues E-Books

DNA Technology

This accessibly written book introduces readers to DNA—one of the most important technologies for the manipulation of all forms of life, from simple bacteria to plants and animals. It also addresses the most important social, ethical, political, economic, and other issues raised by this form of technology.• Provides an engaging and readable introduction to the topic of DNA technology that enables anyone—even readers with a minimal background in science—to understand the science and technology involved in many of today's key social issues• Offers a thoroughly updated version of the information and topics first presented in the successful first edition of this book• Presents an extensive range of reference materials that include an extended annotated bibliography and extensive endnotes• Includes a Documents and Data chapter that provides excerpts from important laws, court cases, government reports, and other primary sources.

Sex and Gender

Geared toward high school students, undergraduate students, and general readers, this reference work provides a thorough and unbiased treatment of sex, gender, and transgenderism—social issues of particular importance in today's world.• Offers answers to essential questions about transgender issues that are accessible to high school students, undergraduate students, and general readers interested in sex and gender• Presents background and insight to a number of social issues and topics that are of considerable interest to young adults but are often treated in a very limited fashion or skipped completely in school curricula• Includes a chapter comprising perspective essays that voice diverse opinions regarding controversial gender issues• Provides additional resources that enable readers to conduct further research or stay up to date on issues that are as yet unresolved.

The Death Penalty

This book addresses the myriad controversies and examines the evidence regarding capital punishment in America. It answers questions regarding topics like the efficacy of capital punishment in deterring violent crime, the risks of mistakes, legal issues related to capital punishment, and the monetary costs of keeping inmates on death row.• Presents'Perspectives'from various writers, allowing readers to consider opinions from many informed individuals—including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and professors—who are concerned with capital punishment• Supplies easy-to-understand information for general readers seeking to learn more about the history, purposes, effects, methods, and costs of capital punishment• Provides a balanced, objective discussion of the arguments and complex issues regarding capital punishment, enabling readers to reach their own opinions and conclusions.

Prisons in the United States

Offering perspectives from a range of experts, both academic and nonacademic, this reference book examines the development of prisons in the United States and addresses the principal contemporary issues and controversies of our prisons and prison systems.• Presents a comprehensive yet succinct history of the development of men's and women's prisons in the United States • Offers a range of author perspectives that identify and explore the principal issues associated with prisons and imprisonment• Documents the shift from an intent to reform inmates in prisons to retribution and an attempt to remove all criminals from society, using prisons for'warehousing'of undesired elements• Provides a complete reference guide for the understanding of prisons and imprisonment as a punishment.

Substance Abuse

This go-to resource on substance abuse supplies the broad background knowledge and historical information needed to understand this important sociological issue and provides readers with a range of additional sources for continuing their study of the topic.• Offers a broad introduction to the physiological, anatomical, and psychological changes associated with substance use and a variety of perspectives from subject experts with special knowledge of and/or experience with substance abuse problems• Provides an easily accessible list of nearly 100 books, articles, reports, and electronic sources with additional information on the topic of substance abuse• Addresses sociological aspects of drug use and the current debate over the legalization of certain drugs, such as medical and recreational marijuana• Includes a collection of relevant data and documents, an extensive annotated bibliography, a chronology, and a glossary.

Campus Sexual Assault

This invaluable reference text thoroughly examines the alarming epidemic of campus sexual assault, including a discussion of laws, high-profile cases, controversies, and proposed solutions.• Provides coverage of a timely topic that helps contextualize the issue by providing historical background and contemporary analysis of key events, laws, people, and controversies• Presents perspectives from individuals with firsthand experience with the issue of campus sexual assault, including a Title IX investigator, a college counselor, a sexual assault nurse, as well as community advocates and survivors• Explores strategies and changes that could serve to prevent assaults from occurring.

Gun Control in the United States

This up-to-date second-edition work will stimulate and clarify readers'thinking on the key issues surrounding guns in the United States—especially on the debate over gun control.• Provides a balanced view of the contemporary gun debate in the United States, explaining the positions of both gun rights proponents and advocates of stricter gun control without demonizing either• Draws on a vast array of research in criminology, history, law, medicine, politics, and social science to provide one of the most comprehensive single-source references on gun issues• Presents current and historical data on U.S. gun violence—including homicides, suicides, and accidental shoots—and places these numbers against international statistics on gun violence, thereby providing the context to enable readers to reach their own opinion on the gun debate.

The Global Water Crisis

How is water scarcity becoming a serious problem worldwide—including in the United States? This book provides a broad overview of water, sanitation, and hygiene problems faced by both developing and developed nations around the globe and suggests how these problems can be solved by imaginative and innovative thinking.• Provides readers with an understanding of the severity of the water scarcity in the world today• Explains the nature of various sanitation issues around the world, how they arise, the problems for which they are responsible, and some possible solutions• Outlines the reasons that droughts are becoming a more serious problem in many parts of the world and what can be done to deal with these water shortages• Highlights the new, specialized problems concerning water supply raised by climate change.

Prescription Drug Abuse

This outstanding resource guide for students and young adults provides an introduction to the history of prescription drug abuse that explains how this problem has arisen and examines the social, political, economic, and health issues associated with prescription drug abuse in modern society.• Explains the dangers associated with the use of prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes• Provides a detailed introduction for readers seeking to learn about the topic of prescription drug abuse and serves as an research tool for school projects• Includes thought-provoking perspective essays from individuals involved in the discussion of how to address prescription drug abuse• Supplies primary source documents in the form of excerpts from laws, administrative rulings, and court cases regarding prescription drug abuse as well as a glossary of key terms used in discussing the topic of prescription drug abuse.