College Eating Disorders - Triggers and Causes

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The subject of eating disorders is one that's often chosen to explore for a research assignment in English 15 or CAS 100 classes at Penn State. Eating disorders are common, especially among college students, and therefore many students know someone--often very close to them--who is dealing with one.

Working in tandem with the databases listed as Sources on a library research guide such as the CAS 100 guide, the Libraries have many reliable sources of information about eating disorders. This post focuses on what causes or triggers eating disorders in college students. Some other things to consider:

  • Limiting a search to something like "college triggers" might be too restricted given that the causes seem to often pre-date college (although not entirely). Try adding "teenagers" or "adolescents" to searches, since this would include college-age students too.

  • Consider if you want your focus to be on males or females or both. There's been more research/news lately that includes men as being susceptible to eating disorders.

  • Search for the report from the database CQ Researcher, called "Eating Disorders" from 2011. It is all about eating disorders--take some time to read through this, there's good background information.

  • Search the database called Academic Search Complete for: "eating disorders" AND teen* AND cause*. This source is a little more scientific than the other one, but it's got lots of good information and solid facts about the disorders. The source is also highly credible. As noted, it says the causes of eating disorders are not well understood, but you could perhaps choose to focus on some of those as they pertain to college life. There were lots of other articles that came up in this search that would be good to review as well.

  • Search LionSearch for: "eating disorders" and college-- one source in particular called Eating Disorders and College is a scientific article from a pediatric journal from 2005--which would be a good read. There are others here as well.

If you're still not finding the things you need, please ask a librarian for help--we love to help students with their research! Happy searching!

Honor Killings

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This week a student asked us for help with her topic of honor killings for her CAS 100 class. Not the sunniest of topics but it is an important global issue and one that definitely requires some research and credible sources. Here are some to get started:

A search in LionSearch which is the default search on the library's homepage, or here is the direct link, for "honor killings". Note that double quotes keep a phrase together when searching, so that the words don't get separated in your results list.

Here is a book in the library about the topic in Pakistan (note the British spelling of honour)

Honour killing : dilemma, ritual, understanding 
    Jafri, Amir H. (Amir Hamid)
Publisher: Oxford University Press,
Pub date: 2008.
Physical Description: xii, 160 p. ;
ISBN: 9780195476316
bookcover
Google books  Limited view (search only)
More Information

Holdings
Pattee Library and Paterno Library Stacks (UP)
Call number Material   Location
HV6197.P18J34 2008 Book
Paterno - 2nd Floor

I also found a journal article about honor killings of women in Pakistan(link below) which: "offers a look at the practice of honour killings of women in Pakistan.Reason for such killings; Origin of the practice; Major categories of victims of the practice; Other southwest Asian countries that practice the same".
http://ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=2686056&site=ehost-live

I used Gale Virtual Reference Library, a collection of hundreds of online encyclopedias, aka the library version of Wikipedia, to find an entry about honor killings:
http://go.galegroup.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/ps/i.do&id=GALE%7CCX3073900223&v=2.1&u=psucic&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w

And lastly another article from LionSearch, this one talks about solutions to this problem:
http://ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=26410242&site=ehost-live

All great, credible sources brought to you by your library!


Net Neutrality

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You may have heard the term net neutrality before without knowing a lot about it.  Basically, net neutrality is the idea that internet providers can potentially control what you do online and that they should be required (by way of a policy) to treat all content the same.

For example, Comcast, a major internet provider, could decide it doesn't want you to access a competitor's content and could prevent you from accessing certain sites or could slow the download speed for certain items.  If you are interested in digging into this topic here are some starting places:

  • Search PSU's CQ Researcher database for this topic - the reports you pull up are chocked full of info!
  • Likewise, the Congressional Research Service Reports database has reports about the Federal Communications Commission's role in the net neutrality issue and also examines FCC proposals to assert regulatory authority over broadband Internet services, open Internet rules etc.
  • Lawrence Lessig, a professor of cyberlaw at Stanford University, often writes about net neutrality and related issues - check out some of his books available from Penn State.

What's Right About Greek Life

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Greeks - aka fraternities and sororities - have received a lot of negative publicity in recent years. From hazing to underage drinking, greek life has been scrutinized by University administrators as well as the student body.

But it's not all bad news and old stereotypes. There are many positive aspects to fraternities and sororities.  Here's a list of some good press that exemplify what's right about greek life.

Addicted to Tanning?

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Tanning beds have been taking a little heat (ahem) in the press lately because their use may increase the risk of skin cancer, UV radiation, and bad burns. Local governments have even discussed banning children from indoor tanning and the federal government has added a 10% sales tax on tanning.  The World Health Organization has even likened it to cigarettes and arsenic. But the risks may have gotten a little bit higher--according to a recent study, indoor tanning might actually be akin to substance abuse.  This Medical Minute by Penn State faculty also lists some other dangers of this practice

So far, it sounds like indoor tanning doesn't have a lot going for it. Could there possibly be some upsides, such as increasing Vitamin D levels (in a population who is typically deficient), increasing your mood, or giving your body image a boost?

Or maybe the government and researchers are just hyping the risks. Perhaps the sunscreen industry just wants to sell more products by instilling fear in consumers. Some even suppose that drug companies don't want you to feel the mood elevating affects of tanning so that you continue to take the medications they produce.

No doubt, there are lots of issues surrounding what once considered a healthy habit by many people.

keywords: tanning booths, indoor tanning, tanning salons, vitamin d, sunscreen, skin cancer


Does Your Water Catch Fire?

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Image courtesy of Penn State Cooperative Extension

A recent news story, "Marcellus Shale Well Accident Reinforces Need to Guard Water Quality," on Penn State Live highlights the ongoing discussion about natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. At the forefront for many are environmental concerns, as well as the economic implications. The Marcellus Shale Formation covers 2/3 of Pennsylvania and expands into neighboring states--but just what is 'Marcellus Shale'? And what does it have to do with natural gas? How might drilling for natural gas affect the region you live in?

Issues that affect you personally can make your research much more interesting. This topic has many facets, so be sure to define the scope of your topic based on the scope of your project. (Are you writing a 3 page paper or preparing for a 20 minute debate?) This could be an interesting topic for a basic informative or persuasive speech or paper, but its many facets also make it a good subject for courses in business/industry, engineering, environmental science, health, or political science. 

For background information on this issue, see the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center's site, the Penn State Cooperative Extension's site on natural gas, and the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection's page on Marcellus Shale (the "Factsheet" is a good place to start). For more like this, see the PA Geology & Mining Research Guide: Marcellus Shale Resources.  (Links for all users.)

Please note when using non-library resources it is especially important to consider the author of the information and the corporate or personal interests it might represent (bias). One way to do this is to look at the "About" page for the site to see who is behind the information and what their mission is. For example, the "About" page on this site shows that many members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition are businesses interested in the promotion of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. To learn more about evaluating information, visit the Information Literacy & You tutorial. (Links for all users.)

You'll find an excellent detailed background if you search the Congressional Research Service Reports for 'Marcellus Shale' to see the most recent update on the "Unconventional Gas Shales: Development, Technology, and Policy Issues" report and other reports that may become available later. If you think this report seems too long, use the table of contents to locate the sections of the report pertaining to Pennsylvania, the Marcellus Shale Formation, technology, and/or federal and state laws. (Links for PSU users only.)

Additional information--including recent news reports and discussion of residents' concerns in local PA and national newspapers--can be found in some of the "Try These First" databases (especially, Newsbank for state and national newspapers and CQ Researcher for the June 2010 issue on "Water Shortages" and the section on whether hydraulic fracturing pollutes water). Also check out the GreenFile article database, focused on articles highlighting the relationship between humans and the environment. Additional news reports can be found in the Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center (including some local PA newspapers not available in Newsbank) or via the Newspapers and News Sources research guide. (Links for PSU users only.)

For further investigation, consider the following research guides:


As always, please ask a Penn State librarianif you need any assistance with your research! Ask a Penn State Librarian or contact your local campus library for research help.

Keywords: Marcellus Shale, Marcellus Formation, natural gas, gas drilling, fracking, water pollution, environment, Pennsylvania

Why is the Census important?

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Gordon De Jong, professor of sociology and demography and senior scientist in Penn State's Population Research Institute explains in this Research|Penn State article: http://www.rps.psu.edu/probing/census.html

To learn more about using Census data for your research, visit the Social Science Library's Census of the United States research guide. Or, do some exploring using the U.S. Census Bureau's American FactFinder website to discover more about your state or town. Here you'll find general, social, economic, and housing characteristics, such as:

  • population
  • race
  • age
  • educational attainment
  • marital status
  • ancestry
  • median income
  • families living below the poverty line
  • median value of homes in your area
  • most popular type of heating fuel
The 2010 U.S. Census is being conducted right now! All students, including international students, should complete and return the census form you receive in the mail or in person.

National Health Care Debate

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Considering tackling the debate over health care in the U.S. for your research project? Whether you're looking for a little bit of information or a lot, start your research by taking a look at the Social Science Library's health care reform research guide. Links will guide you to both library resources (PSU users only) and freely available government, think tank, and organization websites.

For research assistance, ask your Penn State Altoona librarians or a Penn State librarian.

A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.

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According to the Pew report, only 1.7% of U.S. adults are Mormon and only 4% of Mormons live in my region of the country (76% life in the West and, not surprisingly, primarily in Utah (35%)). As someone with little more than a basic grasp of the Mormon religion, I found the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's "A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S." paints quite an interesting picture of Mormon life. It's no surprise than many Mormons self-identify as politically conservative and Republican, but I was a bit surprised to read that Mormons (51%) are more likely than the general public (36%) to feel the U.S. should be active in world affairs. They are also more likely than the general public (37% to 28%) to feel America should ensure peace through military strength, though the report does point out more Mormons (49%) prefer good diplomacy to military strength (37%) to ensure peace.

The three part report provides basic demographic information on Mormons in the U.S. (including a snapshot of converts to Mormonism), their religious beliefs and practices, and their social and political views. Data are often presented in the context of other religions or compared to the general population.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life also offers additional resources on Mormonism, including reports on public opinion of Mormonism, the compatibility of the religion and public life, and Mitt Romney's run in the 2008 election.

To learn more about Mormonism using Penn State University Libraries, start here for books, additional reports, and articles, or, find more statistics. For even more or for research assistance, ask a Penn State librarian or your Penn State Altoona librarian.

Summer Reading

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If you're looking for something different from the conventional "beach read," check out Listverse's "Top 10 Books That Changed the World," "10 More Books that Changed the World," and "Another 10 Books That Changed the World." Of course, the titles selected are highly subjective--and the author acknowledges that--but I found the justifications for each quite interesting. I'm a little disappointed the author so heavily depended on Wikipedia, though, and not sources like Contemporary Literary Criticism (online access, PSU only), Norton critical editions, or Cambridge companions.

A few titles from Listverse's selections:

Either/Or (1843) - Soren Kierkegaard (Listverse description)
The Second Sex (1949) - Simone de Beauvoir (Listverse description)
Things Fall Apart (1958) - Chinua Achebe (Listverse description)
Catcher in the Rye (1951) - J.D. Salinger (Listverse description)
Moby Dick (1851) - Herman Melville (Listverse description)
A Study in Scarlet - (1887) - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (first "Sherlock Holmes" mystery) (Listverse description)

Do you have other titles to recommend?

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