ENGL 235 Introduction to Technical Communication (Milian)

For students in Patrick Milian's English 235

Explore Current Social, Political, and Environmental Issues

Current Issues Databases

Browse current issues databases to find ideas for your social enterprise proposal. Databases cover a wider range of current social, political, and environmental issues.

The next page of news soures includes many local news sources, in case you want to start with a local focus.

How to Use the Databases

You may type an idea into the search bar - but I suggest browsing these research databases to find ideas that interest you and that have local relevance. 

To browse:

Click on broad topic areas that interest you and then "drill down" to subtopics and interesting sources. 

The example below illustrates two steps in the database Environment in Context.

  • I clicked on the broad area of Energy.
  • Then I browsed the list and chose Recycling.
    • For an overview of the issue, I can read the introductory article and/or Reference.
    • News and Video will give me a snapshot of what's happening connected to the issue.
    • Academic will give me scholarship on the topic.
    • I can even Search Within and add a search term, such as business, to find the most relevant sources.

Environment in Context - Browse topics


environment in context - recycling

Local News Media

Your local newspapers, radio and television are a great source to turn to to learn about local issues.The list below provides links to some of the special reporting in the Seattle Times, but other news outlets also cover the enviroment, education, mental health, housing and unhoused communities, and so many other social issues. 

Important Note: Most, though not all, local news media are findable only on the Web. That means you may hit a paywall after you view a few free articles. Check to see if you can find the publication in library databases. I also suggest trying a different search browser. See the below for more on finding online news in library databases.

Please contact a librarian for help, if you can't access the articles you want. 

Check for Full Text in Library Databases

Exploring if the full text of this newspaper article is available through Holman Library:

Article on the Seattle Times Website

  • PublicationThe Seattle Times
  • Website Version Article Title: "In search of better data, Seattle plans to require landlords to report rents"
  • Author: Heidi Groover
  • Website Publication Date: May 31, 2022 (published 6:09pm, updated 9:02pm)
  • Print Version Article Title: (no print version listed)
  • Print Publication Date: (no print date listed)

(click images to enlarge)

Seattle Times website screenshot


Finding This Article Through Holman Library:

  • Try searching the author(s), Publication Title, and the article headline (or key terms from the article headline), and look for a similar result published in the similar time range:

(Click on image to enlarge)

screenshot of a Seattle Times article result in the EBSCO databases


Some newspapers and magazines are available in print at the Library

Some publications do not have complete full text access available online through the Holman Library. If you see a note that the newspaper or magazine is available in the "Holman Library Periodical Collection," we may have access to the print version of the article, and you can copy it or scan it to make a digital version at the library. You can click on the listing to see how far back the print issues are available:

(Click on the images to enlarge)

HL One Search showing the Seattle Times available in print at the library

Seattle Times issues at the Holman Library, showing past issues for the last two weeks are available

You can then find that issue on the shelf in our "periodical collection" section of the library (there's a map of the library with the collection marked in the southeast corner below). 

Or you can write down or take a photo/screenshot of the issue date you want to find and come to the library's Reference Desk-- the librarians are happy to help you find the exact issue on the shelf!

Using News Databases to Generate Ideas

Learn about issues happening in the news by searching in news databases.

Start with a keyword that captures your interest. Add a second and/or third to refine your search.

  • Tip: Be sure to keep your words/phrases simple. Databases do not use natural language.

search- recycling AND landfills