ProQuest SIRS Researcher. (2012). SIRS issues researcher. Retrieved from http://www.proquest.com/en-US/catalogs/databases/detail/sirs_researcher.shtml
Description: SIRS Issues Researcher is a database that focuses on current issues. The collection of articles focuses on national and global stories, with a focus on science, history, politics, and social issues. The collection includes articles, images, and illustrations that come from sources such as The Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic, and Newsweek. The articles include Lexile scores, so that readers can filter reading levels of the content that is retrieve or weed out articles that may be too basic or too difficult. It is standards-based and structured to assist student research. There are helpful tutorials on how to conduct a search and how to analyze graphs and charts. On the home page, the first thing teens will see is the “Top 10” Pro vs. Con Leading Issues, which is a grid of ten topics with an accompanying photograph (the top issues now include animal experimentation, banned books, cell phones, and illegal aliens). This section is determined by the topics that are most searched on the sight. To the left is an alphabetically arrenged subject list of controversial issues. Also included is a poll, news of the day, curriculum pathfinders, maps, and a “Focus on Terrorism” section.
Critical Evaluation: This database is extremely helpful for any teenager who is working on a debate or a persuasive essay, the kind of project that involves researching an issue and picking a side. My only complaint with it is that it makes things too easy, sometimes completes a valuable mental exercise, the thinking through of pro and con arguments. For example, when I click on the Leading Issue “animal experimentation,” it takes me to a question, “Should animals be used for biomedical research?” Below the question, are the “yes” and “no” arguments, all broken down for them. If you click on an argument, say the “yes” argument “Alas, Animal Experiments Are Still Needed,” you go directly to the opinion article with that title. For the student, it makes doing research incredibly easy. For the teacher, it holds students’ hands all the way through the thought process, which is valuable for building that rhetorical intellectual muscle. Aside from this, this site offers a great bounty of pertinent, appropriate articles that will definitely support a student engaged in a project that involves controversial or problematic issues of our day.
Reader’s Annotation: An incredibly helpful resource for anyone working on an essay, speech or project that involves contemporary issues.
Bio: SIRS Researcher is on the ProQuest platform. A company founded in 1938 Ann Arbor, Michigan, the company was called University Microfilms and specialized in preserving artwork. They also focused on dissertations publishing.
The company still focuses on dissertations and creating archives of newspapers, journals, magazines, and databases. Lately, they have acquired numerous information-related companies, including RefWorks and the academic digital book library Ebrary.
Curriculum Ties: Standards-based; covers a variety of different state standards.
Reading Level/Interest Age: Because of the content, I would say that this database is more appropriate for students in the ninth grade and up.
Challenge Issues: No challenge issues.
Why Included: We use this database in our district and I find it extremely useful. The kids, even those not used to using databases, enjoy using it and find it easy to navigate.