Answered By: Colin Magee
Last Updated: Jul 31, 2023     Views: 36


In most cases, you'll need to do a search to find something more specific or closely related to the topic you're writing about.


Searching using the word "disabilities" in the search box

Typing in the word disabilities is going to give you way too many results.  You're going to find info on disability rights, how disabilities are treated at school or at work, and maybe just information about certain different disabilities, like using a wheelchair to get around, or not being able to see or to hear.  We call that a search that is "too broad."


Searching using the terms "disability rights movement" in the search box

Instead, I'm going to type in Disability Rights Movement and that should narrow in on some the history of what has led to equal rights being provided to disabled individuals in the United States. 


Searching "disability rights in madisonville" turns up no results.

You can narrow your topic even more and focus on something very specific. Just be careful not to get too specific, as then your search is "too narrow."  Disability rights in Madisonville, for example, doesn't give you any results, because this database doesn't cover a lot of local news.


Search results for "americans with disabilities act" in the search box

A more specific issue about disability rights that happened in the United States was the  Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.  The Americans with Disabilities Act, abbreviated as the ADA, made discrimination against disabled individuals against the law, in order to provide equal rights and opportunities to disabled individuals.  So let's see if we can find an article that discusses some of the causes and effects of the passing of the ADA.


Search results


Searching "americans with disabilities act" in the search box, the viewpoint articles are highlighted.

Search results are broken down by source type, again, with the top 3 of each source type shown.  The viewpoint articles that they're showing talk a little bit more about the controversy.  The first one talks about how people protested in the 1970s and 1980s to get the ADA passed, and how that compares to today's protests.  The second one talks about how the ADA hasn't done enough to create equality for disabled individuals, and the third one says that the ADA has at least helped disabled individuals find equal opportunity with employment.


Search results for "americans with disabilities act" with a Reference article highlighted.

If we go down to this article here under "reference," it will give us the background to the ADA.  Let's take a look at this article.


The article "The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990"

The article discusses what led to the signing of the ADA in 1990

So if we read this section here, "Associated Movements and Efforts," you'll read that disabled individuals faced many barriers that prevented them from being able to work, or even being able to access buildings or transportation.  This caused them to protest beginning in the 1960s and early 1970s, until the Government signed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which began making it illegal to discriminate against disabled individuals.

Protesting, and the signing of the Rehabilitation Act, is what eventually caused the ADA to be signed in 1990 which strengthened these laws.  So that's what caused the ADA.

Now let's take a look at some of the effects of the ADA.  


On the search results page, the viewpoint article "30 Years after the ADA" is highlighted

If we go back and look at some of the viewpoint articles, we might be able to get a more detailed look at what has happened since the ADA was signed in 1990. 

Let's take a look at this article: "30 Years after the ADA, We're Still Fighting for Disability Justice."


The article "30 Years After the ADA, We're Still Fighting for Disability Justice"


Reasons why we're still fighting for disability justice are highlighted.

This article lists several effects that still exist despite the passing of the ADA some thirty years ago.  The author points out that few additional laws have been passed since 1990.  For example, private businesses like restaurants don't always have to have ramps and automatic doorways that can accommodate wheelchairs.  Zoom meetings, which became necessary during the pandemic for remote work, didn't have to be close captioned.  So despite the passing of the ADA, disabled individuals still are affected by ongoing discrimination.

So the goal is to find information that is supporting your ideas.  If you're doing a paper on the causes or the effects of the ADA, these two articles were perfect.  You could do a position paper on this topic that argues that the government still isn't doing enough to prevent discrimination against disabled individuals.


MLA Citations

One last thing you'll need to pay attention to is finding your MLA citation for your article.  An MLA citation lists the information about the article: the title, the author, the publication, when it was published, etc.  This MLA citation goes in your Works Cited page, which is at the end of your paper. 


Click on "Cite" at the top right side of the screen to access an MLA citaiton

In Opposing Viewpoints, you can click "Cite" at the top right.  A box will pop up showing you an MLA citation - 9th edition, by default.


The article's MLA citation is shown

It shows the author -- with their last name first.  The title of the article in quotation marks.  The source it was published in, in italics.  In this case it was published in a book of essays called Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection.  The publisher was Gale.  2023 was the year.  This is the database we used to access it: Gale In Context Opposing Viewpoints. And this is the url for the article.  And the date we accessed it goes next.  And that's really all you need. Sometimes it gives you a little bit of extra information. But you don't really need to to include that. You will need to pay attention to capitalization and punctuation.  But for the most part, you're going to want to copy and paste this into your Works Cited page in order to show your instructor where this source came from.

So Opposing Viewpoints is a pretty easy database to use.  You'll want to use it when looking up information on important and controversial issues.  You have the "Browse Issues" list, which preloads articles on that topic, or you can search using the search box.  Again, you might need to try different search terms depending on if your search results are too broad or too narrow.  Search results are broken down into different source types, which makes it easier to find the information you need.

Your turn

Now it's going to be your turn.  I showed you how to find information about one aspect of the disability rights movement, specifically the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Now, you're going to be asked to find information about students with disabilities.  Once you complete this assignment, you'll have an opportunity to learn more about some of the library's other databases.

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